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Bahle of King's Mountain, 

OCTOBER 7TH, 1780, 






!^ecretary 1'/ the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and member of various /fistorical 
and Antiquarian Societies of the Country, 








I 88 I. 






WITH llic siege and fall of Charleston, early in 1780, the nidc 
shocks of war were transferred from the Northern and Middle 
Slates to the Carolinas and Georgia. C.ates, the victor of Saratoga, 
was sent to command the SoutiiLMn army ; hut his lucky star failed him, 
and he was disastrously routed near Camden, and the gallant SunUer 
shortly alter surprised at Fishing Creek. Gloom and dismay overspread 
the whole Southern country. Detachments from the victorious British 
army were scattered throughout the settlements; and the rebellious 
Colonies of the Carolinas and Georgia were reported to the Home 
Government as completely humiliated and subdued. Ferguson, one of 
the ablest of the Royal commanders, was operating on the western 
borders of the Carolinas, enticing the younger men to his standard, 
and drilling them for the Royal service. 

At this gloomy period, when the cause of Liberty seemed [)rostrate 
and hopeless in the South, the Whig border leaders, Campbell, Shelby, 
Sevier, Cleveland, Lacey, Williams, McDowell, Winston, Hambright, 
Hawthorn, Biandon, Chronicle, Hammond, and their compeers, mar- 
shalled their clans, united their forces, overwhehning Ferguson and his 
motley followers, crushing out all Tory opposition and making the 
name of A7//^'s Mountain famous in our country's history. This 
remarkal)le and fortunate battle deserves a full and faithful record. 
The story of its heroes has in it much to remind us of an epic or a 
romance. They were a remarkable race of men, and played no incon- 
siderable a part in the long and sanguinary struggle for American 
Independence'. Reared on the outskirts of civilization, they were early 
inured to privations aid hardships, and when they went upon the " war- 
path," they often obtained their commissaries' supplies from the wild 



woods and mountain streams of tho rcyion where they carried on tiicir 
successful operations. 

As early as 1839, the collection of materials was coniiiicnced for 
this work. Three of the lingering survivors of King's Mountain were 
visited by the writer of this volume, and their varied recollections noted 
down — James Sevier, of Tennessee, John Spelts and Silas McI3ec, of 
Mississippi ; and Benjamin Sharp, of Missouri, and William Snodgrass, 
of Tennessee, were reached by correspfindence. 

The gathering at King's Mountain in 1815, to collect and re-inter 
the scattered remains of those wlio fell in the conllict was limited in 
attendance. In 1855, the sevcnty-tlflh anniversary was appropriately 
celebrated, with Gen. John S. Preston, and lion. George Bancroft as tiie 
speakers. But it remained for October seventh, 1880, to eclipse the 
others, in a Centennial celebration, when thousands of people assembled, 
making a incmorable civic and military disjilay, with an address by Hon. 
John W. Daniel, and poems by Paul II. Haync and Mrs. Clara l;ari.;an 
McLean. Then followed the unvailing of a massive granite monument 
having abase of eighteen feet square, and altogether a height of twenty- 
eight feet. It slopes from the upper die to the top, which is about two 
antl half feet st|uare. capable of furtlicr addition, or to he crowned witii 
a suitable st.ilue. Inscriptions are cut on marble slabs, imbedded two 
inches in the granite masonry. 

This worthy King's Mountain Centennial very natmally excited 
much interest in the minds of the jniblic regarding the battle itself, and 
its heroic actors, and promjjted the writer to set about the preparation 
of his long-promised work. Beside the materials collected in former 
years — in ante lielliun days — more than a thousand letters were written, 
seeking documents, traditions, description of historic localities, and the 
elucidation of obscure statements. Old newspaper files of the Library 
of Congress, Philadelphia Library Company, and of the Maryland and 
the Wisconsin Historical Societies, have been carefully consulted, anil 
information sought from every possible source in this country, England 
and the British Colonies. Truth alone has been the writer's aim, and 
conclusions reached without prejudice, fear or favor. 

The following deceased persons, who were either related to, or had 
personal intercourse with, King's Mountain men, kindly contributed in 
years agone, valuable materials for this work : 



mr/wDucTiox. v 

F.x-Gov, David Camphell, of Virijinij; Mnn. IIiicli L. White, Col, Wm. Martin, Ex. 
Gov. Wni. H. Campbell, Col licorge Wilson, Col. Hcorge Clirisiiiin, Maj. John Sevier, Jr., 
Cul (Jeo. W. Scvitr, and Mrs. Kli<:.i W. W.irlicid, of '1 ciingssct ; lion. Jos. J. Mc- 
Unwell, of Oliio ; .Miij. llios. H. Shelby, of Kcntiuky ; Hon. Klij.ih Callaway, Ur. James 
Callaway, Huk'" M. Stokes, Sliadra< k Franklin, Silas McDowell, Adam and James J. 
H.impinn, nf North Carolin.i; Hon. Wni. C. rreston, Ocn. John S. I'luston, Dr. M. A. 
Moore. I). (). Slinson, Jeremiah, Mrs. Sallic Rector. Dr. A. I-. Ilammi>nd. .nnd 
Abraham Hardin, of South Ciruhna ; Gen. Uen, Cleveland, oi' Ucuryia ; and Dr. Alex- 
ander y. Ilradley, of Alabama. 

Special acknowlcdgementa arc due to tlic followirifj pcrsfins. 

Ti-n»essef ;—Dr. J. G. M. Kamsuy. Rlv. Dr. D C. Kcllcy. Hon. J. M. l.rn. Anson 
Nelson. Hon. W. B. Carter, Col. H. L. Claiborne. Mrs. Mary A. 'I'rigg, John I'. Watkins 
Thos. A. Rogers, and Col, H. A. liruwn. 

l'!rgi'nfn:—V.. A. Drock, Hon. A. S. Fulton, W. G. G. I.owry, John I,. Cochran, .ind 
Col, T. L. )'rcston. 

North Carn//na:—V>T. C. L, Hunter, Col. J. R. Logan, W. L. Twitty, Dr. R. F 
Hnckctt, Col. W-n. Johnston. Hon. W. P. Hynnm, Dr. W. J. T. Miller, Mrs. Mary A, 
Chambers, Hon. S. McDowell Tate, Col. W. W. Lenoir, .Mrs R. M. Pearson. W. M. 
Kcinhardt. Hon. J. C. Hari)er, Hon. C. A. Cilly, .MiiS A. L. Henderson, Ur. G. W, 
Michal. Wm. A. McCall, Rev. W. S. Fonfaino, W. S Prarson. T. A. Honchrlle, John 
Ikinner, J. L. Worth. Dr. T. R. Twitty. M. <). Dickcrson. A. D. K. W.allace, John Gilkey, 
A. n. Long, Dr. J. H. Gilkey, Hon. J. M. Cloud, Rev, W, S, P,ynu;.i, J, C. Whitson. Geo. 
F. D.-ividson. Mrs. R. C. Whi.son. Miss N. M. McDowell, Miss A. M. Woodfin. James E, 
RevnnMs. Lewis Johnson. G. W. Crawford. W. H. Allis, Thos. P. Vance. Dr. J. C. New- 
land, W. M. McDowell, Rev. E. F. Rockwell. D. Pnrgin. A. Rnrgin, Wylie Franklin, 
James Gwyn. Jesse Yates, Dr. L. Harrill. John H. Roberts. Mrs. M. V. Adams, .Mrs. P. 
E. Callaway, Dr. I!. F. Di,\on, and Mrs. M. M, Thruslon. 

Souf/i Cirrliam—Mev. James H. Save Fx-Gov. R. F. Perry. Hon. Simpson Robo. 
N. F. Walker. A. H. Twichcll. Mrs. Edward Ro.ach, Gen. A. C. Garlington. D. K. Craw- 
ford. Hon. John 1!. Cleveland, Elij.ih Keese, James Seaoorn, ami J. T. Pool. 

Cj'eors-i'n: -Dr. J. H. Logan. Gen. W. S. WofTord, W'. T Hackett. and A. N. Simpson. 

Aliibnmn .-—Rev. Z. H. Gordon, Col. J. H. Witherspoon, and Mrs. Lewis E. Parsons. 

Mhsissi/'/ii :—}. R. Hill. 

Ayka>i.<:as:— D. H. Hill. 

Missouri : — Dr. A. N. Kincannon. 

AV«/rtr*>'.--Ls.iac Shelby, Jr., and Col. H. H. McDowell. 

Illinois : — Spraguc White. 

Ohio: — Mrs. Jennie McDowell Stockton. 

Wisconsin : — Hon. John A. Rontley. 

PeHiisyb'aiiia : — G. R. Hildebiirn. 

A'fw W'rk .-Gen. J. Watts DePcyster, and Geo, H. Moore, LL. D. 

jTfa>yltttiil : — Miss Josephine Seaton. 

IJ'ashinjrto/! .-—Col. J. H. Wheeler, and Hon. D. R. Goodloe. 

Kitgland : — Viscount Holmesdale, Col. (}eo. .'\. Ferguson, and Alfred Kingston, 

Nem Brunswick : — J. Dc L.mcey Robinson. 

Xo"ja Scotia: — George Taylor. 

Ontario :—Kq.v. Dr. E. Rycrson. 



While in the lonj;' years past tlie materials for this work ha\e been 
collected, ample facts aiurdociimuiits have also been -gathered for .'', 
continuation of similar volumes, of which this is the commencement — to 
be called, perhaps, the Border Series, embracing, in their sweep, the 
whole frontier from New York and Canada to the gulf of Mexico — 
Siinitcr and liis Men — Pklcens and the Battle of Cow/icns — IJf,- and 
Campaigns of Gen. Ucorgc Holers Clark — Boone and the Pioneers 
of Kentue/cy — Kenton and his Adventures — Brady and his Seouts — 
Mecklenburg and its .Ictors — Teeuniseh, the Shaivanoe Leader — Brant, 
the Molunvk Chief— ■^\■\C^ a volume on Border Forays and .Id'oentures. 
If there is a demand for these works, they will be forthcoming. 

Should Kings Mountain and its Heroes be recei\'cd with favor, and 
regarded as shedding new light on an interesting portion of our revolu- 
tionary history, not a little of the credit is deservedly due to the 
enterprising publisher, Peter (i. Thomson, who warmly encouraged 
the undertaking, and has s])ared no pains in bringing it before the 
public in a style at once t.isteful and attractive. 

Madison, Wis., September i, iSSi, 

tablp: of contents. 


1763 to May, 1780, 


-s of the 
'/ Charleston. 

May, 1780. 

Further Iiicidrnts Connected -inth /A, c- ^ 

-Subjugation of South Carolina. 



1741 to May, 1780. 



Colonel Ferguson sent to the District of V;„ / c- 

Local Militia.-Jn,for H.uZ'i > S'-^--Orgamzing the 

/^v.//..-/,, ^,,,, /L'^;;^;-^/^^^^^^^ ^se,uctn.epronusesto the 

Mission-Mrs. jane Than aTu^'~f "''^ ''''"' '"^"/''"^''^" to his 
J Ihonias Advcnture.-Colond Thomas rebels 


VI 11 


a Tory assault at Cedar Spring.— Ferguson advances to Fair For- 
est. — Character of the Tories — Stories of their plundering^. — Col- 
onels Clarke and Jones of Georgia — the latter surprises a Tory 
Camp —Dunlap and Mills attack McDoioell's Camp on North 
Pacolct. — Captain Ilatnptons pursuit and defeat of the Tories. 


1780— July— August. 

McDo7uell sends for the Over-Mountain Men. — Clarke joins him, and 
pushes on to Sumter's Camp. — Capture and Escape of Captain 
Patrick Moore. — Moore's Plunderers. — Story of fane Mcjunkin 
and Bill Ilaynesworth. — Shelby and the Mountaineers arrive at 
Me Doweir s Camp. — Capture of 'Thicketty Fort. — Expedition to 
Brown s Creek and Fair Forest. — Fight at the Peach Orchard, near 
Cedar Spring, and IVofford's Iron Works, and its Incidents. — 
.'iaye's Account of the Action. — British Report. — Contradictory 
Statements concerning the Conflict. 


1780— August 18. 

Musgrovc's MiU Expedition and Battle. — Rencontre of the Patrol Par- 
ties. — British Alarm. — Information of the Enemy's Reinforcement. 
■—Whigs thro^v up Breast-ieorks. — Captain In man's .Stratagem. — 
Enemy drawn into the Net prepared for them. — Desperate Fight- 
ing. — Junes and other British Leaders Wounded. — Tory Colonel 
Clary's Escape. — Captain Inman Killed. — The Retreat and the 
Rout. — Incidents at the Ford. — Sam Moore's Adventure. — The Brit- 
ish and Tory Reserve. — A British Patrol Returns too late to share 
in the Battle. — Burial of the Slain.—-Length and Severity of the 
Action. — Respective Losses. — A{-7l's of Gates' Defeat— its Influence. 
— Whigs' Retreat. — Anecdote of Paul IJinson. — The Prisoners. — 
Williams' Reward. — Cornwallis' Confession. — Comparison of Au- 


1780— Summer and Autumn. 

Incidents of the Up-country — Major Fdunird Musgro'-.'c. — Paddy Can- 

and Beaks Musgrove. — The Story of Mary 






August, 1780-Mareh, 1781. 

Moves. -n^o Try on Gun J^^J,^ :^': ^';^' /--''— /vv,.. J. 


July-October, 1780. 

maud of Sumter's men~his ,l:']''~^^ '"'"'"■' Mlurc to ^ct com- 
son sends a tkrcat /"/./ ^,^1/1 T ''"f '^ ^"""^^^Fergu. 
forts to turn tk. scales l ^:^Zl^''"^^^^ 
ton and Campbell unite m /, ''Z ' ^'^' ^^^'^^^^. ^^^wip. 

-Parson Doak connLj tl 7 T^^^^^^^^ '^"-- ^'^^'^^h. 

^tl.r.--T,,,.,,^^. ;^f; '^ '] ^^"■P'-oterttonoftAeGood 
and mnston.--CanMnJt "'^'^'"^'-''^--yoined by Cleveland 


September-October, 1780. 


Moinitainccrs at tJicir South Mountain Camp. — Patriotic Ippcals 
of the Officers t) i heir Men. — Resume of Fcrti^uson s Opoutions in 
the Upper Catawba Valley. — Alarmin^t; Intelh[i(ence of the Ap- 
proach jf the Back IVater Men. — Why Fcrs^uson 7'arricif so long 
on the Frontiers. — British Scheme of Suppressing the Rebellion by 
the Galloivi. — Ferguson Flees from Gilbert To-wn. — Seniis Messen- 
gers for aid to Cornwallis and Cruger. — Frcncicd Appeal to the 
Tories. — Ferguson's Breakfast .Stolen by Saucy .I'higs. — //is 
Flight to '''''ite's Ferry. — Dispatch to Lord Corvwallis. — Takes 
Tost on King's Mountain, and Description of it. -Motives for Ling- 
ering there. 



October, 1780. 

Uncertainty of Ferguson' s Route of Retreat. — A small party of Georgians 
join the Mountain Af<ii. — Whig forces over-estimated. — Report of a 
P'atriot Spy from Ferguson's Camp. — Williams' attempt to Mislead 
the Mountaineers. — Lacey sets them Right. — 'The South Carolinians 
treatment of Williams. — Selecting the fittest JMen at Green river to 
pursue Ferguson. — Arri7>al at the Cowpens. — The Tory, Saunders 
— his ignorance of Ferguson, his Beeves and his Com. — Story of 
Kerr, the cripple Spy — Gilmer, the cunfiing Scout, duping the 
Tories. — The Co7vpens Council, further selection of Pursuers, and 
their Number. — Night March to Cherokee Ford. — Straying of Camp- 
bell's Men. — Groundless Fears of an Ambuscade. — Crossing of 
Broad river. — Stormy Times. — faded Condition of Men and Horses. 
— Tory Information. — Gilmer's Adventures.— Plan of attacking 
Ferguson. — Colonel Graham Retires. — Chronical assigned Command 
of the Lincoln Men. — Young Ponder Taken. — /u-rguson's Dress. — 
Pressing toiuards the enemy's Camp. 


King's Mountain Battle, October 7th, 1780. 

Ferguson and his Men Resoh'c to Fight. — The Bayonet their Main Re- 
liance. — British Strength. — Character of the Provincial Rangers. — 
Different Classes of Loyalists Described. — Traits of the Mountain- 
eers. — The I/olston Mot, and Frontier Ad7'etitures. — Assignment 
of the Whig Corps to the Attack. — Campbell's Appeal to his Men. 




— U'iiis/on's mis- Ailvcnliircs. — Ch-wland no/ tJu- First /o Commence 
the Action. — Siir/irisin<^ the Enemy's Picket. — .Shelby s Co/iiiiui . In- 
noycd by the Enemy. — CamphelPs Men Rush into the Eit^ht — At- 
tach on the British Main Guard. — The Viri^inians Ad^'ance u/) the 
^lountain. — March of Cleveland's Men — Patriotic Speech of their 
Commander. — Drive in a Picket. — Movements of Laccfs Men. — 
Campbell's Corps Driven before the Bayonet — Rally, and Renex^> 
the Contest. — .Shelby, too. Retired before the Charging Columns. — 
The Right and Left Wings take part in the Action. — Culbertson's 
Heroism. — Captain Moses Shelby Wounded. — Ensign Camp/'cll Ih's- 
lodging Tories from their Rocky Ramparts. — Terrific Character of 
the Conjlict. — .Imiising Incident of one of Lacey's Men. — Heroic 
Efforts of Campbell and his Corps. — Ensign Campbell's U'ood Con- 
duct.— Captain hdmiindson's Exploit and Death. — Lieutenant 
Reece Bouen's Disdain of Danger, and his Lamented Fall. — Camp- 
bell's Active Efforts and Heroic Appeals. — Death of Major Chron- 
icle. — The South Fork Boys Charged, and Several Wounded. — 
Robert Henry Transfi.xcd, and yet Survived all his Associates. — 
William Tiuitty and Abram Forney. — Cleveland, and his Men. — 
Lieutenant Samuel fohnson dnd other Wounded Of/icers. — Intre- 
piditv of Charles Gordon and Da7>id Witherspoon. — Singular 
Adventure of Charles Boiuen and Colonel Cleveland. 


The Battle— October 7th, 1780. 

J-ltrther Progress and Incidents of the Contest. — Heroic Act of William 
Robertson. — Thomas Robertson Shoots a Tricky Tory. — Treatment 
of the Tory Branson, by Captain Withrow. — Captain Lenoir's 
Part in the Battle. — Captain Robert Sevier Wounded. — Alarm 
concerning Tarleton. — Mistake caused by Campbell's Bald Faced 
Horse. — Campbell's Daring Reconnoiter. — Anecdote of Clc-t'cland. 
— Colonel IVilliams Patriotic Conduct. — William Giles "Creased" 
— RcT'ives, and Re/it'ii's the Fight.— -Thomas ]oung's Relation of 
Colonel William.^:' Fall. — Major Hammond's Desperate Charge, 
and singular Premonition of one of his Men. — Campbell and .Shelby 
Renewing the Attack. — Lieutenant- Colonel Hambridge Wounded. — 
Ferguson's Pride and Recklessness — Attempting to Escape, is 
Mortally Wounded. — Various .Statements of Colonel Williams' 
Fall. — Furious Charge of Campbell's and .Shelby's Men. — Several 
Corps driven down the Mountain. — British Over-Shoot the Whigs. 
— North Carolina Tories first to Weaken. — Colonel Graham's I'nex- 



pcctcii Ritiirii. — Ft-rgitson s Fall — DcPeystcr Vindicated. — Whigs 
sloTii to Rctognizi' the IV/u'tc Flag.— ) 'oiiitg Sri'iers Shooting 
Paroxysm. — Efforts of .Shi'H>y and Cam/flxil to Quell the Firing of 
the ll'higs. — Three Koitsing Cheers for the iireat I'ietory. — 
Colonel IVilliains' Shot — an Exciting Scene. — Conjlicting Stories 
of his Fatal Charge. — British Officers Surrender their Siuords. — 
Ferguson's I/eroic Conduct in the Jiattle — Jiis Mistakes. — He was 
Afortally ] Founded, not Killed Out- Fight. — Curiosity of the IVhigs 
to l'ie7i> his Body. — His Mistresses. — Frii'ations and Sufferings of 
the Mountaineers. — Strength of the Tones. — Absence of their 
Leaders. — Their Fighting Qualities. — Dismay of the Southern 
British Coiuinanders. — Their Tgnora>:ce of the Oiur- Mountain 
Whig Settlements. — Boone not on the Campaign. — Duration of the 
Battle. — Strength and flosses of the British and Tories.— Colonels 
John and Patrick Moore. — Numln-r of Prisoners Taken. — Errors 
in Report of I^osses.— Names of Whigs Killed and Wounded.— 
Death of Captain Sevier.— William Moore Wounded.— Remarkable 
Losses in Campbell's Regiment.— Captains Weir and Shannon 
Arrive.— Counting the Dead.— Caring for the Wounded.— Guard- 
ing the Prisoners.— .'scarcity of j'rovisions. — King's Mountain 
Souvcnirs.—/Feart-Rcn(fing Scenes of the Battle Field.— The A'ight 
after the miction. 


October, 1780. 

Battle Tncidcnts.—Long Sam Abney Coerced into Ferguson's Army. — 
Death of Arthur Patterson.— Drury Mathis' Rough Experience.— 
A Tory Woman Finding her Slain Son.— Fatality of the Riff lemen. 
— Preston Goforth and three Brothers Killed. — ./ Brother kills a 
Brother.— The Whig and Toy Logans.— William Logan Noticed. 

Preparing to Retire.— Burning Captured II "agons.— Horse-Litters 

for the Wounded.— Gray's Kindness to a Wounded Tory.— A 
Termasiant Prisoner Released.— Messengers sent to the Foot-Men.— 
Arms Captured.— Tories made to Cany Them.— Trophies of I'ic- 
fo,-y_—A Whig ]Voman Refusing to Share in the Plunder.— Rumor 
of Farlcton's Approach.— Burial of the Whig and Tory Dead.— 
Treatment of Ferguson Cvisidercd.— Re-Interment of Remains.— 
March of the Armv.— Death of Col. Williams.— Camp at Broad 
River.— Williams' Burial.— Discovery of his Long- Forgot ten Grave. 
—Six Tory Brothers Escape.— Notice of Colonel Walker.— Bran- 



don's Barbarity. — Campbell rrotcctiiii^ tlu- Pri.uvurs. — Gray's Rt-t<>>i 
ton Tory Vixen. — Gray's Smncfs. — Sitlfiriiii^^ for Food. — Fcediii^^ 
Prisoners on Corn and Pumpkins. — Billeting the Wounded, — March 
to Bickerstajjf's Old Field. 


October— November, 1780. 

Colonel Catnpbell J)iiioitnres Plundering. — Complaints Agaijist Tory 
Leaders. — T/ieir Outrages on the Whigs. — A Court Called to Con- 
sider the Matter. — Retaliation for British Txeeutions Demanded. — 
A Law Found to Meet the Case. — Charges against A/ills, Gilhey, 
and A/eFall. — Colonel Davenport Noticed. — Number of Tories 
Tried and Condemned .— Case of fames Craikford. — One of the 
Prisoners Released. — Cleveland Favoring Severe Measures. — 
Motives of the Patriots I 'indicated. — Shelby's Explanation. — 
Tories Executed — their names and Residence. — Paddy Carr's 
Remarks, and Notice of Him. — Bahkvin's Singular Fscape. — 
Further Executions Stopped. — Tories Subsequently Hung. — Rumor 
of Tarletons Approach. — Whigs Hasten to the Catawba. — A Hard 
Day's March — Sufferings of Patriots and Prisoners. — Major Mc- 
Dowell' s Kindness. — Mrs. Ale DowcW s Treatment of British Offi- 
cers. — Some of the Whig Troops Retire. — Disposition of the ]]'ouiidcil. 
— Prisoners Escape -One Re-taken and Hung. — March to the 
Alorai'ian Settlements. — Bob Po^oell's Challenge. — Official Account 
of the Battle Prepared. — Campbell and Shelby Visit General Gates. 
— Cleveland Left in Command. — His Trial of Tories. — Escape of 
Green and Langum. — Clevela/td .Issaults Doctor Johnson. — Colonel 
Armstrong Succeeds to the Command. — Escape of British Officers. 


October— December, 1780. 

Disposition of King's A fountain Prisoners. — Proposition to Enlist Them 
— Needed for Exchange. — Congress refers the Alatter to the States 
where the Prisoners Belong. — ILnu They Dwindled Away. — Colonel 
Armstrong Blamed. — Remnant Confined at Salisbury. — DePeyster 
and Ryerson Paroled. — ./ Plucky Band of Wliigs Scare a Large 
Tory Party. — Tarleton Frustrates Cornwallis' Design of Relieving 
Ferguson.— Intercepting Ferguson's AFcssengers. — Tarleton at 



Li-ni^th in Motion. — //is Inslnictions. — /■^Jfctt of A7>/j,''.v .\/oii/iiiu'n 
Victory. — Ewiii and /Utny Alarm the Xcittrals aiut tiny Alarm 
Cornwallis. — Crowning of David I\nox. — Cornwallisjlcts to .Soiit/i 
Carolina, with the Imaginary A/ountainiwrs in Pursuit. — ^/ Triclcy 
Cuidc MisUading the lu tiring /roops. — A Panic. — //Iness of Corn- 
wallis. — Sic'lcness and Patality among the Troops. — Privations and 
Siifft-rings of the /^etrograders.- .\id luiidrred t>y the Tories. — 
Ninety Six Safe. — Cornwallis Threatens /ietatiation for /Execution 
of Kings Mountain Prisoners. — Gates and Jiandall on the Situa- 
tion. — The Question Met />y General Greene. — Cornwallis I)ro/>s the 
Matter. — Case of Adam Cusae/c. — 'The Widows and Orphans of 
Ninety Six District. — Good Words for King's A/ountain Victory. — 
Gates Thanks the Victors. — Washington Takes Courage. — /■resolves 
ofCongi'ess. — Greene and /.ee Commend the Mountaineers. — Tossing, 
Bancroft, and Irving on the Result. — The Ihitish Leaders Recognize 
the Disastrous Effects of Ferguson s A/iscarriage. — Gates and fef- 
ferson's /encomiums. — lung's Mountain Paves the IVay for York- 
town and Inde/iendence. 


Gen. William Campbell. 

//is Scotch-Irish Ancestry. — //is I'athcr an /•larly //olston Explorer. — 
William Campbell's Birth and Education. — Settles on //olston. — A 
Captain on Dunmore's Campaign. — Raised a Company for the first 
Virginia Regiment in 1773. — /Return for the Defense of the /fron- 
tiers. — I lis Military Appointu nts. — Rencounter with and Hanging 
of the Bandit Hopkins. — .S' 'pressing Tories up lYcw Jii^'C)-. — 
King's Mountain Expedition — his Brai'cry Vindicated. — Public 
Thanks for his Services. — .Marches to Long Island of Holston. — 
At Whitzell's Mills and Guilford. — Resigns from Ill-treatment. — 
Made Brigadier-General. — Serves under TAiIuiyette. — Deatli and 
Character. — Notices of his King's Mountain Officers , 


Cols. Shelby and Sevier, and their Officers. 

Notice of Evan Shelby. — Isaac Shelby's Life and .Services. — Officers 
under him at King's Mountain — E'lnin Shelby, fr. — Gilbert Chris- 
tian — Moses .Shelby — fames Elliott— John Sawyers — George Max- 
well, and George Rutledge. — fohn .S,-7'ier's Life and Services. — 
His lung's Mountain OJficers — Jonathan Tipton— Valentine and 
Robert Sevier — Christopher Taylor — Jacob Brown — Samuel Weir. 





Col. Ben. Cleveland, Maj. Joseph Winston and their 


Cievc/aiti/' s /Utrcstry. — //is Early Life and I/unlin;^ Adventures. — 
Trip to Kenttte/^y. — /Hl/c Hunt and Narrow /Cscapes. — /ievolution- 
ary War. — Suppressiui^ Scotc/i Tories. — /■^ut/terford's C/iero/cee 
Campaign. — A/are/ies to IVittauga. — .[^pointed Colonel. — Serves in 
Georgia. — New River Seoul. — Kings A/ountain. — /Langs Coyle 
and liro-iin. — Captured by Tories and Ins Reseue. — /Middle and 
Wells Hung. — Other Tory Brigands Taken — Nie/iols, Tate, and 
LLarrison. — Tliunthing t/ie Notelt. — Reforming Tories. — Removes to 
Tugalo. — /Langs Dinkins. — Appointed fudge. — Anecdote, — Great 
Size, Death, and Character. 

Major Joseph Winston Noticed. — Ben. Herndon. — Micajah and foel 
Lewis. — Robert and Ji'hn Cleveland. — fesse Franklin. — William 
Lwnoir — John /hirton — William Meredith, and A/inor Smith. — 
fohn Broicn and Samuel fohnson. — David and fohn Wither- 
spoon. — fo. LLerndon, Richard Allen, and Elisha Reynolds. 


Lacey and Other Whigs. — British and Tory Leaders. 

L^acey, l/aivthorne, Tate, and A/offett. — Williams, LLauimond, L/ayes, 
Dillard, Thompson, and Candler. — Brandon, Stccn, and Roebuck. — 
Maj. McDoiocll, Capt. A/cDoiuell, /-Kennedy, Vance, and Wood. — 
I/ampton, Singleton, Porter, Withrow, A/iller, and Watson. — 
L/ambright, Graham, Chronicle, Dick'^on, fohnston. White, 
Espey, Martin, and A/attocks. — British and Tory Leaders. 


Allaire's Diary, and Other British Accounts. — Letters of Williams, 
Davidson, and Gates. — Gates Thanks to the Victors. — Official /Re- 
port of King's JS/ountain. — Shelby's and Campbell's L.etters. — Wash- 
ington's General Order. — .Arthur Campbell and Unknown Writer's 
Statements. — Col. CampbelFs General Orders. — Thanks of Virginia 
Legislature. — Lee and Greene's L^ctters. — L^aFayette on CampbelFs 
Death. — Monroe's Letter. — Robert Campbell, Shelby, Graham, 
Lenoir, and Sharp's Naratives. — "jVarrator's" Charge. — Shelby 
ami Sevier's Correspondence. — Shelby's J\imphlet. — .'synopsis of Re- 
joinders. — / arious Certificates I 'indicating Col, Campbell. — Old 
Ballads. — Lndex. 


1706 to May, 1780. 

Caitsts of Iht- Ri'volution — Altcyiuxte Successes and Disasters of I he 
Early Campaigns of the War — Siet^c and Reduction of Charleston. 

For Ion years befdiv the outbreak of the American Revo- 
hilion. the great (juestion oi taxation -u'il/iuid rcpi cscntatioii 
agitated the miiuls of the American people. They rejected 
the stanfps, because they implied a tax : they dcstro3cd 
the tea, because it imposed a forced levy upon them without 
their consent, to gratify the insatiate demands of their trans- 
Atlanlic soveriM^n, and his tyrannical ^linislry and Parlia- 
ment. Should thev basely yield one of their clearest ri'dits, 
they well judged ihey might be required, little by little, to 
\ield all. They, therefore, manfully resisted these inyasions 
as unbecoming a free people. • 

When, in 1775, Great Britain determined to cntbrce her 
obnoxious laws, the people, under their chosen leaders, 
seized their arms, forsook their homes and families, and 
boldly asserted their God-giyen rights. A long and embit- 
tered contest was commenced, inyohing. might}' interests. 
Freedom was threatened — an empire was at stake. Sturdy 
blows were giyen and receiyed, with various results. The 
lirsl year of the war, the Americans beat back the I jrilish 
from Lexington and Concord, and captured Crown Point, 
but were worsted at Bunker Ilill ; they captured Chambly 
and St. Johns, and repulsed the enemy near Longueil, but 
the intrepid Montgomery failed to take Qiiebec, losing his 
life in the eflort. 

The sect)nd year of the contest, which brought forth the 
immortal Declaration of Independence, proved varying in 




its fortunes. The Scotch Tories in North Carolina were 
signally defoatecl at Moore's Creek, and the British, long 
cooped up in Boston, were compelled to evacuate the place : 
and were suhsequently repulsed at .Sullivan's Island, near 
Charleston ; while the Americans, on the other hand, were 
defeated at the Cedars, and were driven from Montreal, 
Chambl}- and St. Johns, worsted at Long Island and White 
Plains, and lost Fort Washington, on the Hudson. Mean- 
while the frontier men of Virginia, the Carolinas, East Ten- 
nessee, and Georgia, carried on successful expeditions against 
the troublesome Cherokees, whom British emissaries had in- 
veigled into hostilities against their white neiiihbors. 

Yet the year closed with gloom}- prospects — despair sat 
on many a brow, and saddened many a heart — the main 
army was greatly reduced, and the British occupied New 
York, and the neighboring Province of New Jersey. Wash- 
ington made a desperate venture, cros.^ing the Delaware 
amid lloating ice in December, attacking and defeating the 
unsuspecting enemy at Trenton ; and. pushing his good 
fortune, commenced the third yi-ar of the war, 1777, by 
securing a \ietory at Princeton. While the enenw were, for 
a while, held at bay at the Red Bank, yet the results of 
the contests at Brandywine and Germantown were not 
encouraging to the American arms, aiul the British gained 
a firm foot-hold in Philadelphia. .\nd subsequently they 
captured Forts Clinton and Montgomery, on tlie Hudson. 

Farther north, better success attended the American 
arms. St. Leger, with a strong British and Indian force, 
laid siege to Fort Stanwix. on the Mohawk ; but after repel- 
ling a relieving party under (Jen. 1 lerkimer, he was at length 
compelled to relinquish his investiture, on learning of the 
approach of a second arm\- of rclii'f, retiring precipitate!}- 
from the country ; while the more formidable invading force 
under Burgoyne met with successive reverses at Benning- 
ton, Stillwater, and Saratoga, eventuating in its total sur- 
render to the victorious Americans. 





In June, 1778, the fourth year of the war, the British 
e\'acuated Phihidelphia, when Washinj^ton pursued their 
retreating forces, overtaking- and vigorously attacking them 
at Monmouth. A large Tory and Indian party defeated 
the settlers, and laid waste the Wyoming settlements. As 
the result of Burgoyne's signal discomliture. a treaty of alli- 
ance between the new Republic and France brought troops 
and fleets to the aid of the struggling Americans, and pro- 
duced some indi'cisive ligliting on Rhode Island. 

The adventurous expedition under (xeorge Rogers Clark, 
from the vallevs of Virginia and West Pennsylvania, down 
the Monongahela and Ohio, and into the country of the 
Illinois, a distance of wi'll nigli liiteen hundred miles, 
with limited means, di'stitute of military stores. [Kick- 
horses and supplies — with only their bra\-e hearts and 
trust}' rides, was a remarkable^ enterprise. Vi't with all 
these obstacles, and K-ss than two hundred men, Clark fear- 
lessly penetrated the western wilderness, killing his game 
by the way. and cor.quered those distant settlements. 
Though regTirded at the time as a hercvilean inulertaking, 
and a most successful adventure, yet nont' foresaw the 
mightv in flu* lice it was destined to exert on tlie subsequent 
progress and extension of the Republic. 

\'aried fortunes attended the military operations of 1779, 
the fifth year of the strife. The gallant Clark and his intre- 
pid followers, marched in winter season, from Kaskaskia 
acrossthe submer'^ed lands of the Wabash, sometimes wad- 
ing up to their arm-pits in water, and breaking tlu- ice before 


em, surprised the garrison 

at V 

mcennes. and siiccee 


in its capture. The Britisli f'orce in Georgia, having defeated 
General Ashe at Brier creek, projected an expedition against 
Charleston, and progressed as far as Stono, whence they 
were driven back to Savannah, where the combined French 
and Americans were subsequently repulsed, losing, among 
others, the chivalrous Count Pulaski. At the North. Stony 
Point was cajitured at the point of the bayonet, and Paulus 




Hook surprised ; while General Sullivan's well-appointed 
army over-ran the beautiful country of the Six Nations, 
destroying their villages, and devastating their lields, as a 
retributive chastisement for their repeated invasions of the 
Mohawk and Minisin settlements, and laying waste the 
lovely vale of Wyoming. 

The war had now dragged its slow length along for live 
:;uccessive campaigns, and the Britisli had gained but few 
permanent foot-holds in the revolted Colonies. Instead of 
the prompt and easy conquest they had promised themselves, 
they had encountered determined opposition wherever tliey 
had shown the red cross of St. George, or disphned their 
red-coated soldiery. Repeated defeats on the part ot the 
Americansihad tiiy;ved to inure them to tb.o hardships of 
war, and KKftrwst them how to profit by their experiences and 

New efforts were demanded on the part of the British 
Government to subdue their rebellious subjects ; and South 
Carolina was chosen as the next field of extensive opera- 
tions. Sir Henry Clinton, who had met so signal a repulse 
at Charleston in 1776, and in whose breast still rankled the 
mortifying recollections of that memorable failure, resolved 
to head in person the new expedition against the Palmetto 
Colony, and retrieve, if possible, the honor so conspicu- 
ously tarnished there on his previous unlortunate enterprise. 

Having enjo3'ed the Christmas holiday of 1779 in New 
York harbor, Sir Henry, accompanied by Lord Cornwallis, 
sailed tVom Sandy Hook the next day with the fleet under 
Admiral Arbuthnot, transporting an army of o\er se\en 
thousand five hundred men. Some of the vessels, however, 
were lost by the way, having encountered stormy weather 
in the gulf-stream — one bark, carrying Hessian trorps, was 
dismasted and driven across the ocean, an ordnance vessel 
was foundered, while several transports were cajitured by 
bold and adventurous American privateers, and most of the 
horses for the expedition perished. The place of rendez- 



vous was at T3'bee Bay, near the entrance to Savannah 
river, whence Clinton, on his way towards Charleston, was 
Joined hv the troops in Georj^na, making his force nine 
thou5*find strong, besides the sailors in the fleet ; but to ren- 
der his numbers invincible beyond all peradventure, he at 
once ordered from New York Lord Rawdon's brigade, 
amountini: to about two thousand live hundred more. 

Charleston, against which this formidable British force 
was destined, was an opulent city of some fifteen thousand 
people, wliite and black, and was garrisoned by less than 
four thousand men — not near enough to properly man the 
extended works of defence, of nearly three miles in circum- 
ference, as they demanded. Governor Rutledge, a man 
of unquestioned patriotism, had conferred upon him by the 
Legislature, in anticipation of this threatened attack, dicta- 
torial powers, with the admonition, 'to do every thing 
necessary for the public good ; " but he was, nevertheless, 
practicalh' powerless. He had few or none of the sinews 
of war ; and so depreciated had become the currency of 
South Carolina, that it required seven hundred dollars to 
jiurchase a pair of shoes for one of her needy soldiers. The 
defeat of the combined French and American force at Savan- 
nah the preceding autumn, in which the South Carolinians 
largely particip;iled, had greatly dispirited the people ; and 
the Governor's appeal to the militia produced very little effect. 
The six old South Carolina regiments had been so depleted 
by sickness and the casualties of war as to scarceb- number 
eight Inmdred, all told ; and the defence of the city was 
committed to these brave men, the local militia, and a few 
regiments of Continental troops — the latter reluctantly 
spared by Washington from the main army, and whicli. In 
thought, was " putting much to nazard" in an attempt to 
defend the city, and the result proved his military foresight. 
It would have been wiser for General Lincoln and his 
troops to have retired from the place, and engaged in a 
Fabian warfare, harassing the enemy's marches by ambus- 



Ciides, and cuttint^ oil" his foragini^ parties ; but the leading 
citizens ot* Charleston, relvinij on their former success, 
urged every argument in their power that the city sliould be 
defended to the last extremity. Yet no experienced En- 
gineer regarded the phice as tenable. 

On the eleventli of February, 1780, the Britisli forces 
landed on St. John's Island, within thirty miles of Charles- 
ton, subsequently forming a depot, and building fortifications, 
at Wappoo, on James" Isi lud ; and, on the twenty-sixth ot" 
that month, tliey gained a distant view of the place and har- 
bor. The dreaded da}' of danger approached nearer and 
nearer; and on the twenty-seventh, the ollicers of the Con- 
tinental squadron, which carried one hundred and tifty guns, 
reported their inability to guard the harbor at the bar, where 
the best defence could be made : and " then," as Wasliington 
expressed it, "the attempt to defend the town ought to have 
been relinquished." But no such thought was entertained. 
Ever}' thing was done, that coidd be done, to strengtlien 
and extend the lines of defence, dig ditches, erect redoubts 
and plant abatis, with a strong citadel in the center.* 

Preparations, too, were steadily progressing on the part 
of the enemy. On the twenty-fourth of March, Lord Corn- 
wallis and a Hessian ollicer were seen with their spy- 
glasses making observations; and on the twenty-ninth, the 
British passed Ashley river, breaking ground, on the tirst 
of April, at a distance of eleven himdred yards Irom the 
American lines. At successive periods they erected five 
batteries on Charleston Neck. 

Late in the evening of March thirtieth, General Charles 

* There was published, first in a Williamshurgli, \'a., paper of April 8th, 1780, copied 
i ito Dunlap's Pennsylvania Packet o( April iStli, and into the New York Koyal Gazette 01 
~ ime date, an account of a Colonel Hamilton Ilallendine havinp made drawings of Cliarlesion 
and its fortifications, was directing his course to the enemy, when an American pi( kct 
guard sent out to Stono. captured him; he. thereupon, exhihited his dr:ifts, supposing that 
the party belonced to the Uritish army. They soon clisahuscd him of his error, carried 
him to General Lincoln, who ordered him for execution, and he was accordingly hanged on 
the 5th of March. As none of the South Carolina historians, nor any of the Charleston 
diarists or letter writers during the siege, make the slightest refer.Micc to any such person 
or circiimstance, there could have been no foundation for the story. 





Scott, commandiiio- one of the Mrginia Continental bri- 
gade, arrived, accompanied by his stall", and some other 
otlicers. "The next morning," says Major Croghan, "I 
accompanied Generals Linc(jln and Scott to view the batteries 
and works around town ; Ibund those on the Cooper river side 
in prettv good order, and chielly manned by sailors ; but the 
greater part of the remainder not complete, and stood in 
need of a great deal of work. General Scott was very par- 
ticular in in(|uiring of General Lincoln as to the quantity of 
provisions in tlie garrison, when the General informed him 
there were se\eral months' supplv, b\' a return he had re- 
ceived from the Commissary. General Scott urged the 
necessit}' of having officers to examine it, and, as he ex- 
pressed \\.^for them to hw tJtcir hands on it.''* 

A sortie was planned on the fourth of April, to be com- 
manded by General Scott — one battalion led by Colonel 
Clarke ,. d Major Hogg, of North Carolina; another by 
Colonel Parker and Major Croghan, of Virginia, and the 
light infantry by Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens ; but the wind 
proved unfavorable, which prevented the shipping from 
going up Town creek, to lire on the enemy, and give the 
sallying parly such assistance as they might be able to ren- 
der, and thus it failed of execution. General Woodford's 
Virginia brigade of Continentals arrived on the sixth, and 
some North Carolina militia under the command of Colonel 
Harrington. They were greeted by the firing of a /cti de 
j'oic, and the ringing of the bells all night. f 

Admiral Arbuthnot's near approach to the bar, on the 
seventh of April, induced Commodore Whipple, who com- 
manded the American na\-al force, to retire without firing a 
gun, lirst to Fort Moultrie, and afterward to Charleston ; and 
the British fleet passed the fort without stopping to engage 
it — the passage having been made, savs the New Jersey 

* MS. Journal of Major William Croghan, of the Virginia Line. Siejje of Charles- 
ton, ijj. 

■fCroshan's MS. Journal. 





Gazcltv* while a severe thuiuler slorni was raging, which 
caused the ships to be "•invisible near hall" the time of their 
passing.'' Colonel Charles C. Pinckney, who commanded 
there, with three hundred men, kept up a heavy cannon- 
ade on the British ships dining their passage, which was 
returned by each of the vessels as they passed — the enemy 
losing fourteen men killed, and lifteen wounded, while not 
a man was hurt in the garrison. f One ship had its fore- 
topmast shot away, and others sustained damage. The 
Acteus transport ran aground near Iladdrell's Point, when 
Captain Thomas Gadsden, a brother of Colonel Gadsden, 
who was detached with two field pieces for the purpose, lired 
into her with such effect, that the crew set her on lire, and 
retreated in boats to the other vessels. The Royal fleet, in 
about two hours, came to anchor within long shot of the 
American batteries. 

By the tenth of April, the enemy had completed their 
first parallel, when Clinton and Arbuthnot summoned the 
town to surrender. Lincoln answered : ''From duty and 
inclination I shall support the town to the last extremity." 
A severe skirmish had previously taken place between 
Lieutenant-Colonel John Laurens and the advance guard of 
the enemy, in which the Americans lost Captain Bowman 
killed, and Major Ilyrne and seven privates wounded. On the 
twelfth, the batteries on both sides were opened, keeping up 
an almost incessant lire. The British had the decided ad- 
vantage in the number and strength of their mortars and 
royals, having twentN'-one, while the Americans possessed 
only two \\ and the lines of the latter soon began to crumble 
under tlie powerful and constant cannonade maintained 
against them. On the thirteenth. Governor Rutledge was 

* May i2th, 1700. 

t's MS. Journal. 

JSiu,h is tile staicinent of Dr. R.nms.iy, who was present, during the siege. The 
British olTicial returns show nine mortars, ranging from four to ten-inch caliber, and one 
eight-incli howitzer, surrondcreil at Charlesion. and a ten-inch mortar taken at Fort Moul- 
trie; but probably the most of these were either unfit for use, or more likely, the limited 
quantity of shells enabled the defenders to make use of only two of this class of ordnance. 



persiiacled to withdraw from the garrison, whilo exit was 
yet attainable, leaving Lieutenant-Governor (ladsilen with 
five members of the Council. 

On the same day. General Lincoln, in a council of war, 
revealed to its members his w ant ot ri'sources, and suggested 
an evacuation. '• In such circumstances," said General Mc- 
intosh, '• we should lose not an hour in attempting to get 
the Continental troops, at least, over Cooper ri\er ; for on 
their safet\-, depends the salvation of the State." Hut Lin- 
coln only wished them to give the matter mature consider- 
ation, and he would consult them further about it. lietbre 
he met them again, the American cavalry at Monk's Corner, 
which had been relied on to keep open the communication 
between the city and the country, were surprised and dis- 
persed on the Iburteenth ; and li\e days later, the expected 
British reinforcements of two thousand li\e hundred men 
arrived from New York, when Clinton was enabled more 
completel}- to environ the devoted city, and cut otT all chance 
of escape. 

A stormy council was held on the nineteenth, when the 
heads of the several military dej^artments reported their 
respective conditions — of course, anvthini{ but llatlerinir in 
their character. Several of the members still inclined to an 
evacuation, notwithstanding the increased dilliculties of 
eflecling it since it was iirst suggested. In the midst of the 
conference, Lieutenant-Governor Gadsden happened to come 
in — whether by accident, or design, was not known — and 
General Lincoln "curteously proposed that he be allowed to 
take part in the council. He appeared surprised and dis- 
pkajedthat a thought had been entertained of either evacu- 
ation or capitulation, and acknowledged himself entirelv 
ignorant of the state of the provisions, etc., but would con- 
sult his Council in regard to the proposals suggested. 

In the evening, an adjourned meeting was held, when 
Colonel Laumoy, of the engineer department, reported the 
insulhciency of the fortilications, the improbability of holdin<'- 



out iiianv clays lonjjjer, and llu- impracticability nf making 
a retreat : and closed by siigi^estin^' that terms of" iionorable 
capitulation be souijht from tlie eiu'iuy. Lu'utenant-(]tov- 
ernor ( iailsden, with tour ofhis Councilors, coming in shorti\- 
atli-r. treated the military gentlemen very rudely, the Lieut- 
i'nant-(ro\ ernor declaring that he would protest against their 
proci'edings ; that tlie militia were willing to li\e upon rice 
alone, rather than give up the town on any terms ; and that 
even the old women had become so accustomed to the ene- 
my's shot, that they traveled the streets without tear or 
dread : but it" the council were determined to capitulate, he 
had his terms ready in his pocket. 

Mr. Thomas Ferguson, one of the Councilors, declared 
that the inhabitants ot'the city had observed the boats col- 
lected to carry olV the Continental troops ; and that they 
would keep a good watch upon the army, and should any 
attempt at exacuation ever be made, he would be among 
the tirst to open the gates for the admission of the enemy, 
and assist them in attacking the retiring troops Colonel C. 
C. Pinckney soon after came in abruptly — probably having 
been apprised by the Lieulenanl-Goxernor of the subject 
under discussion — and, forgetting his usual politeness, ad- 
dressed General Lincoln with great warmth, and in much the 
same strain as General Gadsden. addin<>- that those who were 
lor business needed no cc)uncil, and that he came over on 
purpose from Fort Moultrie, to prevent any terms being 
oftered to the enemy, or any evacuation of the garrison at- 
tempted : and particularly charged Colonel Laumoy and his 
department with being the sole authors and promoters of 
such proposals.* 

It is very certain, that these suggestions of evacuation or 
capitulation, occasioned at the time great discontent among 
both the regulars and militia, who wished to defend the city 

*The details of tins military council arc taken from Major Crnclian's MS. Trmnial ; and 
from General Mc'ntosli's Journal, piibli-hed entire hi the Muf^iiii/M Mncazine, Dec. 1842, and 
cited in Simms' South Carolina in tin Jievolution, 127-129, both of which are, in this case, 
identical in language. 




to the hist extnniil\- , ami who it>()I\i'i1. in view ofcontiiiu 
in<>- tlu' lU'k'iK-e, llial llu-v woulil In- *.(>iUciU. if lU'i'i'ssarv, 
will) oiilv hair raliDUS daily.* All iIk-sl- ^ooil prople had 
llu'ir wishes gralitifd — Uk' sioor was prucrastinatod, and 
many an addiuonal death, siitlrrin^. sorrow, and anguish, 
wort.' the consriincncL'. 

General Linioln must liave l\ll hurl, il not sorely nelUed. 
hv these repealed insults — as General Melnlosii aeknow I- 
edges that he did. When matters of ^real pulilic eoneern 
result disastrously, scape-goi-.ts are always souj^ht, and all 
participants are apt to feel more or less unamiable and 
faull-frndiuLj on such occasions. Or, as Washington ex- 
pressed il. referring to another alFair. "mutual reproaches 
too often follow the failure of enterprises depending upon the 
cooperation of troops of dilleront grades." Looking at these 
bickerings in the light of history, a ciMUury after their oc- 
currence, one is struck with General Lincoln's magnanimous 
forbearance, when he coulessedly made great sacrilices in 
defending the place st) long against his belter jiulgment, in 
deference to the wishes ot" the peojile, who, we may well 
conclude, were ver\- unfit judges of military allairs. 

At another council of ollkHM-s. held on tlie twentieth and 
twenl\-lirst, the important subject of an evacuation was again 
under ileliberation : and the conclusion n'ached was, '•that it 
was imad\-isable. because of the ()]iposiliun made l(j it by 
the ci\il authority and the inhabitants, and because, even if 
the\- should succeed in defeating a large bod\- of the enem\' 
posted in their way. they hatl not a sutFiciencN' of boats to 
cross the Santee before they might be o\ertaken by the 
whole British army. '"I Tt was then proi^osed to give Sir 

••'Ms. letter <if J''hii Lcwi^i Oervais, cilcil in Simnis. 1^9. 

t The enemy were c<Mistantly 1)11 the watch any attempti'd evacnntion tin the [i.crt 
' f the Anicricaiis. Capt J. R. Ruusselet. of 'I'arleton's cavalry, has left this MS. note, 
written on the margin of a copy of Steadman's American ll'ur. referrinj to the closing 
period 01 the siege: "Some small vessels, taken from the .■\mcrlcans. were armed, manr.ed 
with troops, and stationed off Town Creek, to prevent the escape of the garrison should 
they attempt to evacuate the town by that channel, Capt. Roussclet commanded ail 
armed sloop, with his company on board, under Capt. Salisbury, Royal Navy." 

( \ 



IIiMiry Clinton (luii-t jiossi-ssion of the city, with its fortifi- 
cations ami (K'prn(lt.'nci(.'s. on condition that tlK' security of 
tlio inluihitants. ami a salr. unimiK-sli'd retreat for the /gar- 
rison, with haiijiLjanc ami licld pii'crs. to the norlh-i'ast of 
Chark'ston sIkuiKI bo granted. 'These terms wen- instantly 
rejected. On searchini^^ t-very house in town, it was found 
that the private suppHes of pro\isions were as m-arly ex- 
hausted as were the public mai^a/mes. 

On the twenty-fourth, at daybreak. Lieutenant-Ct)lonel 
Ilendt'rson sallied out with two humln-d men. chii'lly from 
Generals Wot)dford's and Scott's brigades, surprising" and 
vigorously attackin<r i1k> advance llankini;" party (A the 
enemy, bayoneting- tifleen of them in their trenches, ami 
capturini;" a do/.en prisoners, of whom seven were wounded, 
losiujLj; in tlu- brilliant allair, the brave Captain Thomas Gads- 
den and one or two privates. A considi'rabU' body of tlie 
enemy, under Major Hall, of the se\ I'lUy-fourth n-i^inu'nl, 
attempted to support tlie part}- in the trenches; but were 
oblij^ed to retire on receiving a shower of grape from the 
Anu-rican batteries.'* A successful enterprise of this kind 
proved onl\ a momentary advantage, having no perceptibk' 
inlluence on the linal result. 

It is said Colonel C. C. Pinckney, and Lieutenant-Cok)nel 
Laurens, assured General Lincoln they could supply the gar- 
rison with plenty of beef from Lempriere's Point, if they were 
permitted to remain on that side of Coo|-)er river with the ibrce 
then under their commaml : upon which the Commissary was 
ordered to issue a full allowance again. But unfortunately 
the fn-sl and onl\- cattle butchered at Lempriere's for the use 
of the garrison were altogether spoiled through neglect or 
mismanagement before they came over. These gentlemen, 
are said, also, to have promised that the communication on 
the Cooper side could, and W(mld, be kept open. Being in- 
habitants of Charleston, and knowing the country well, per- 
haps the General, with some reason, might be inclined to the 

*Croghau's MS. Journal. 




snme opinion ; and besidrs rinnishini,^ thr irarrison with beef, 
tlu'v were to send a sulliiii'nl numlnT of lU'irroes over to 
town for the niililary works, who wimv much wanted. I>iit 
Colonel Pinckney witli the nrralcr pari, or ahnosl tlu' whole 
of his lirst Soiilii Carolina reginienl. and Lieuttiiant-Coloiu-I 
Laurens with the linht infantry were recalled iVotn Fort Moul- 
trit- and Leiii]irii're"s * — aiul thusended this spasmodic hope. 
I'rohablv this t'ailure caused a strict search to he made, 
ahoul this tinu', in the houses ol" the citizens tor provisions; 
'• some was found," says Major Cro^ifhan, •• but a much less 

mtit\- than was supposed."" 

The Americans were not slow in perccivini^ the utter 


ess of their situalion. Onllie twent\'-si.\th, Cieneral 


Dul'ortail, an able J^'rench ollicer and En^ineer-in-Cliief 
of the American army, arrived from i'hiladelpliia, having 
been sent by Washington to supervise the engineer depart- 
ment. He frankly inlormed General Lincoln that there was 
no prospect of getting any reinforcements very soon from the 
grand army — that Congress had proposed to General Wash- 
ington to send the Maryland Line to their relief.+ As soon 
as General Dul'ortail came into the garrison, examined the 
military works, and obser\ed the enemy, he declared the 
defences were not tenable — that the\- were only field lines; 
and that the British might have taken the place ten da\ s ago. 
" I found the town," wrote DuPortail to Washington, " in 
a desperate state. '"| He wished to leave the garrison imme- 
diately, while it was possible; butGeneral Lincoln would not 
allow him to do so. as it would dispirit the troops. On 
learning General 1 )uPortairs opinion, a council was called the 
same day, and a proposition made lor the Continental troops 
to make anight retreat : and when the citizens were inf(M-med 
of the subject under delibi-ration. some of them came into 
the council, warmly declaring to General Lincoln, thatif he 
attempted to withdraw the troops and abandon the citizens, 

*CrnBhan's MS. Journal ; ami Mcintosh's Diary. 

t Croj;lian's MS. Journal. 

{ Letters to Washington, ii, 450. 





they would cut up his boats, aud open the f^'atcs to the enemy, 
This put au L'ud to all l'iiitlu>r thouj^hts of an evacuation.* 

As lati> as tin- Iwi'uty-i'ii^litli, a supernumerary ollicer 
left town to join the forces in the country ; but the next da\- the 
small party reiuainini;- at Lmipricre's I'oiiU was recallrd, 
the I'neuiy at once occupyiuLf it with alarj^e force ; and thus 
the last avenue betwi'i>n the city and country was closed. 
General Lincoln infortned the j^eneral oflicers. privately, this 
day, that Ik- intended thf horn work as a ]ilace of retreat 
for the whole army in case tlu'y w ere dri\ (.-n from the lines. 
General Mcintosh observinjr to him the imjiossibilit}- of those 
then stationed at South Bay and .\shley river, in such a 
contingi'ucy, beini;- able to retreat there, he replied that thev 
might secure themselves as best they could. And on the 
thirtieth, in some way, (iovernor Rutledj^e managed to con- 
vey a letter to General Lincoln, upon which the General con- 
gratulated the army, in general orders, on /icar/iii>uix\ large 
reinforcement, which iiKtv again open the comnumication 
with the coiuury.f It was the old story of drowning men 
catching at straws. 

It is unnecessary to dwell upon the daily di-lails of the 
protracted siege. Some of" the more unusual occurri'uces 
only need be briefly noticed, so that we may hasten on to the 
melancholv catastrophe. I'^cniui vessels were sunk in the 
channel U) ]")re\rnt the Royal lleet h^om passing up Cooper 
ri\er, and eulilading the American lines on that si(U> of the 
place ; while a iVigate and two galleys were j^laced above 
the sunken obstructions, to cix'iperate with the shore batter- 
ies in thwarting any attempt on the part ot" tlu> enemy for 
their removal. 

But the work of destruction went steadily on. Cannon 
balls by day and by night went streaking through the air. 
and crashing through the bouses. One morning, a shell 
burst ver}'^ near Colonel Parker, a large piece of which fell 

* Moultrie's Memoirs, i. 80. 
tCrogliau's MS. Juiir[ial. 



harmless at his feet, when he said, willi much composure, 
"a miss is as ^ood as a mile:"* aiul, that very evenin;^, 
while the gallant Colonel was lookin;^^ oNir llie parapet, he 
was shot (lead. Shells, liri'-balls, and carcasses, ingen- 
iously packed with condnistihlcs, loaded pistol barrels, and 
other (U'struclive missiles, were thrown into tlu- city, setting 
many buildings on lire, and maiming and destroying not a 
few of the citizens and soldiery. Gn one occasioji, when ii 
pastor and a tew worshipers, mostly women and in\alids, 
were gathered in a ciunch, supplicating llie mercies of 
heaven on themselves and sullering people, a bomb-shell 
fell in the chuch-yard. when all (.|uickly dispersed, retiring 
to their several places of abode. 

Some of the cases of fatality were ([uite uncommon. 
Meyer Moses' young child was killed while in the arms of 
its nurse, and die house burned down. A man and his wife 
were killed at the same time, and in the same bed. A sol- 
dier who had been relieved from serving at his post in the 
defence of the city, entered his humbU' domicil. and while in 
the act of embracing his anxious wife, witli tears of gladness, 
a cannon ball passed thrt)ugh the house, killing them both 
instantly. Many sought safety in their cellars; but e\ en 
when protected for ihe moment from the constantly falling 
missiles of death and destruction, they began to suiTer for 
want of food, since all the avenues to the city for country 
sujiplies. had been cut olT. 

General Moultrie has left us a vivid picture of this period of 
the siege : " Mr. Lord and Mr. Basquin, two volunteers, were 
sleeping upon the mattress together, in the advanced redoubt, 
when Mr. Lord was killed by a shell falling upon liini. and 
Mr Basquin at the same time had the hair of his head Inu-nl, 
and did not awake until he was aroused from his slumbers by 
his fellow soldiers. The fatigue in that advanced redoul)t was 
so great for want of slecj. . that many faces were so swelled 
they could scarcely see out of their eyes. I was obliged to re- 

* Virginia Gazette, May i6, 17S0. 





lieve Major INIitchell, the commanding officer. Thej'- were 
constantly on thi' lookout for the t-hclls that were continually 
falling among them. It was b}' far the most dangerous post 
(jn the lines. On my visit to the battery, not having been 
there for a day or two, I Look, the usual way of gtiing in, 
which was a bridge that crossed our ditch, quite exposed to 
the enem}-, who, in the meantime, had advanced their works 
within seventy or eighty yards of the bridge, which I did 
r.ot know. As soon as 1 had stepped upon the bridge, an 
uncommon number of bullets whistled about me ; and on 
looking to my right, I could just see the heads of about 
twelve or fifteen men firing upon me from behind a breast- 
work — I moved on, 1 got in. When Major Mitchell saw 
me, he asked me which wa}- 1 came in? I told him over 
the bridge. He was astonished, and said, ' Sir, it isathou- 
sand to one that you were not killed,' and told me that he 
had a covered way through which to pass, by which he con- 
ducted me on niv return. I staid in this battery about a 
quarter of an hour, giving the necessar}' orders, during which 
we were constantly skipping about to get out of the wav of 
the shells tlr.\<\\ n from their howitzers. They were not more 
than one hunilred vards from our works, and wert; throwincr 
their shells in bushels on our front and left flank.''* 

Under date of die second of May, Major Croghan records 
in his Journal, which is corroborated by General Mcintosh's 
Diary, that the enemy threw shells charged with rice and 
sucfar. Simms tell, us. that tradition has it, that it was not 
rice and sugar with which the shells of the British v.'ere 
thus ironically charged, but wheat flour and molasses — with 
an inscription addressed: *•^^) the Yankee officers in 
Charleston," courteously informing them that it contained a 
.^ippl}' of the commodities of which the}' were supposed to 
stand most in need. But the garrison could still jest amid 
sufTering. volcanoes and death. Having ascertained that 
the shell was sent them from a battery manned exclusively 

^Moultrie's Memoirs, i, 83. 



by :i Scottisli force, they cmptii'd the shell of its contents ; 
and rilling it with lard and sulphur, to cure them of the 
itch, and sent it back to their courteous assailants, with the 
same inscription which originally accompanied it. " It was 
understood," says Garden, " after the sie^j^e, that the note 
was received, but not with that good humor that might have 
been expecled, had it been considered as '<\- jcn iVcsfrit^ re- 
sulting from I'ustiiiable retaliation." 

'* Provisions," as we learn from Johnson's Traditions^ 
"now failed among the besieged. A sufliciencv had been 
provided for llie occasion: but the beef and pork had be- 
come tainted and unlit for food." But tlie Iiritish "were 
misinformed,"" says Moultrie, '* if they supposed us in want 
of rice and sugar." Of the latter ardcle, at least during 
the earlier stages of the siege, such was its plentifulness 
that it was a favorite amusement to piu'sue the spent hot 
shot of die enemy, in order, by ilinging sugar upon the 
balls, to con\ert it into candy. But towards the close of 
the siege, the supply of sugar must have become limited. 
"On the fourth of May," sa}s Major Croghan, '• we received 
from the Commissary, with our usual allowance of rice, six 
ounces of extremely bad meat, and a little colTee and sugar. 
It has been very disagreeable to the northern oOicers and 
soldiers to be undei the necessitj' of living without wheat or 
Indian bread, which has been the case during the whole 
siegi\" So that the Scotch jokers who sent their shot, 
laden wiUi either rice and sugar, or Hour and molasses, iron- 
ically iiinting at the deficiencies of the beleaguered garri- 
^;on, did not, after all, hit very wide of the mark. 

Clinton, on the sixth of May, renewed his former terms 
for the sm'render of the garrison. With the limited store 
of provisions on hand, with no prospects of receiving fur- 
ther supplies or reinforcements, and with the admission on 
the part of the Engineers that the lines could not be main- 
^^ ined ten days longer, and were liable to be carried by as- 
sault at any time, General Lincoln was disposed to accept the 




terms tendered ; but he was opposed by the citizens, as the}^ 
were required by CHnton to be prisoners on parole, when 
they wished to be regarded as non-combatants, and not 
subject to the rigorous huvs of war It was only putting 
ofl'the evil day tor a brief period; and again the twenty- 
four and thirty-two pound carronades, the mortars and 
howitzers, belched forth their shot, shell and carcasses upon 
die devoted town and garrison, setting many buildings on 
fire, and keeping up the most intense excitement. So near 
were now the opposing parties, that they coi Id speak words 
of bravado to each other; and the rifles of the Hessian Ya- 
gers were so unerring, tliat a defender could no longer show 
himself above the lines with safety ; and even a hat raised 
upon a ramrod, was instantlv riddled with bullets. 

Captain Hudson, of the British Navy, on the fifth of May, 
summoned Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan's Island to surrender ; 
the larger portion of its garrison ha\ing pre\i()usly retired 
to Charleston. Lieutenant-Colonel William Scott,* who com- 
manded, sent for answer a rollicking reply : " Tol, lol, de rol, 
lol — Fort Moultrie will be defended to the last extremity." 
The next day, Hudson repeated his demand, threatening that 
if he did not receive an answer in fifteen minutes, he would 
storm the fort, and put everv man to the sword. Scott, it 
would seem, was at first disjiosed to resort to bravado of 
the "last extremity" character; but recalled the oflicer 
bearing it, saying on further reflection the garrison thought 
better of it — the disparity of force was far too great — and 
begging for a cessation of hostilities, proposed terms of sur- 
render, which were granted by Captain Hudson. The sur- 
render formally took place on the seventh. f Thus the historic 

* Scott was a lirave. experienced olTicer. He serveil as a Captain during tlic attack on 
Charleston, in 177O. and died in that city in June, 1807. 

f Gordon's History of the ReTolutioii. iii. 354; Moultrie's Mctuoirs, ii, 84; Ramsay's 
Revolution in South Carolina, ii, 56. Dancroft. x, 305. and others, give May 6th as the date 
of surrender, but that the 7th was the true date of this occurrence mr.y he seen by com- 
paring Tarleton's Campaign, 53-55; Botta's Rn'ohifioii. New Haven edition, i?43. ii. ;?4g ; 
Johnson's Trniiifions. 259; Sinims' South Carolina in the Revolution, 146; and Sie^e oj 
Charleston. Munsell, 1867, p. 167. 

! \ 




Fort jMoultrie, whicli four years before had si;:^nally repulsed 
a powerful JJritish lleet under Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, 
now surrendered to the enemy without firing a gun. 

Tiie seventh of May was further noted by an unfortunate 
disaster — the partial destrucdon of the principal magazine 
of the garrison, by the bursting of a shell. General MoiUtrie 
had most of the powder — ten thousand pounds — removed tr) 
the nortli-east corner of the exchange, where it was carefullv 
bricked up, and remained undiscovered b}- the British during 
the two years and seven months they occupied the city. 
Another summons was sent in by Clinton on the eighth — a 
truce was granted till the next day ; when Lincoln endeav- 
ored to secure the militia from being considered as prisoners 
of war, and the protection of the citizens of Souih Carolina 
in their lives and property, w ith twelve months allowance 
of time in which to determine whether to remain under 
British rule, or dispose of their effects and remove else- 
where. These articles were promptl}^ rejected, with the 
announcement on the part of Clinton that hostilities would 
be re-commenced at eight o'clock that e\ening. 

"After receiving his letter.*' says Moultrie, "we re- 
mained near an hour silent, all calm and ready, each \vait- 
ing for the other to begin. At length, wo fired the first gun, 
and immediately followed a tremendous cannonade — about 
one hundred and eighty, or two hundred pieces of heavy 
cannon were discharged at the same moment. The mortars 
from both sides threw out an immense number of shells. It 
was a glorious sight to see them, like meteors, crossing 
each other, and bursting in the air. It appeared as if tlie 
stars were tumbling down. The Hre was incessant almost 
the whole night, cannon balls whizzing, and shells hissing, 
continually among us, ammunition chests and temporary 
magazines blowing up, great guns bursting, and wounded 
men groaning along die lines. It was a dreadful night ! It 
was our last great effort, but it availed us nothing. After it, 
our military ardor was much abated, and we began to cool.'' 

w \\ 





When, on the eleventh of May, the British had crossed the 
wet ditch hy sap, and were within twcnty-iivo yards of the 
American linos, all fartlior defense was hopeless. The militia 
refused to do duty.* It was no longer a question of expedi- 
ency ; but stern necessity demanded a speedy surrender, and 
the stoppage of farther carnage and sullering. General Lin- 
coln had proved himself brave, judicious and unwearied in his 
exertions for three anxious months in ballling the t'reatlv 
superior force of Sir Henry Clinton and Admiral Arbuth- 
not. Hitherto the civil aulliorities, and citizens of Charles- 
ton, had stoutly contended that the city should be defended 
to the last extremity ; but now, when all hope was lost, a 
large majority of the inliabitants, and of the militia, peti- 
tioned General Lincoln to accede to the terms ofi'ered by the 
enemy. The next da}- articles of capitulation were signed. 

The loss of the Americans during the siege was ninetv- 
eight oll'cers and soldiers killed, and one hundred and forty- 
six wounded; and about twenty of the citizens were killed 
by the random shots of the eneni}-. Upward of thirty 
houses were burned, and many others greatly damaged. 
Besides the Continental troops, less than two thousand, of 
whom five hundred were in hospitals, and a considerable 
number of sailors. Sir Henry Clinton managed to enumer- 
ate among the prisoners surrendered, all the free male 
adults of Charleston, including the aged, the iniirm, and 
even the Loyalists, so as to swell the number of his formid- 
able conquest. In this way, his report was made to boast 
of over live thousand six hundred prisoners, wiien the Lo3'al- 
ist pordon but a few days afterwards otlered tlieir congratu- 
lations on the reducdon of South Carolina. The regular 
troops and sailors became prisoners of war until exchanged ; 
the militia from the country were permitted to return home 
on parole, and to be secured in their property so long as 
their parole should be obser\-ed. 

* Du Portail to Washington, Miy 17th, 1780. 




May, 1780. 

Further Incidents Connected with ///e Sici^e. — Tyranny of the British 
Leaders. — Subjugation of South Carolina. 

A sad accident occurred shortly after the surrendci'. 
Tlie arms taken iVom the troops and inhabitants, amounting 
to some live thousand, were lodged in a laboratory, near a 
large quantity of cartridges and loose powder. A number 
of the British ollicers desiring some of the handsome mounted 
swords and pistols, went to the place of deposit to select 
such as pleased their fancy, when through carelessness in 
snapping the guns and pistols, the loose powder was ig- 
nited, which communicated to the cartridges, blew up the 
building, and, in an instant, guards, officers, arms, colors, 
drums and fifes were sent hio-h into the air — the mangled 
bodies of the victims were dashed by the violent explosion 
against the neighboring hcnises, and, in one instance, against 
the steeple of a contiguous church edifice. The work-house, 
jail, and old barracks were destroA'ed. Captain Collins, 
Lieutenants Gordon and T^IcLeod, together with some fifty 
uf the British guard, and upward of fifty of the citizens, lost 
their lives bv this unhappy occurrence.* 

It is a singular fact, that at least during a portion of the 
siege, Major John Andrd. Deputy iVdjutant-General of the 
British army, managed in some way to get into the city, 
and made his home with Edward Shrewsberry, on the east 
side of East Bay street. William Johnson, a prominent 
Whig, and others, saw the }'oung man at Shrewsberry 's 





■ \\ \- 

" Uams:iys Ri-voliition. ii 62-63 ; MoiiItiiL-'s A/,'iii,'i>-s ii. 109-112 ; Pennsyivania Journal. 
July 5tl), 1780; Simms' South Carolina in the Revolution. 156-157; Mackeniie's Stritturis, 24. 




back countryman, connected with ilu- \'iri,nnia troops, and 
had brought down cattle for tlie <^arrison. \\\ this cattle- 
drover ruse, lie probably gained access to the city. lie 
was, ol" coursi\ there for a ]')urpose — to make observaiions, 
and gain intelligence, and in some secret way, communicate 
the result to Sir Henry Clinton The historian, Ramsay, 
who was present during the siege, admits that there were 
secret friends of the Royal Government in the city, foment- 
ing disaflection, and working on the fears of the timid : and 
Moultrie, another e^e-witness, tells us that when the British 
marched in. to take possession of the citv. Captain Roch- 
fort said to him, '• Sir, you have made a gallant defence; 
but you had a great many rascals among you, (and men- 
tioned names,) who came out t'\ ery night and gave us in- 
formation of what was passing in your garrison."* 

Stephen Shrewsberry becoming sick, stopped with his 
brother Edward awhile, and repeatedly saw Andrd there — 
of course, bearing some assumed name ; and after his re- 
covery, and the surrender of the city, he was introduced to 
the same person at his brother's as Major Andrd. Stephen 
Shrewsberr}' mentioned this singular circumstance to his 
brother Edward, who frankly acknowledged that he was 
the same person ; but asserted his own ignorance of it at the 
time of his brother's illness. Marion's men subsequently 
sought the life of Edward Shrewsberry, charging him with 
treacber}' to the American cause : but lie survived the war, 
leaving a daughter, a very amiable lady, who lived till 18^4, 
dying childless. 

Certain it is, that Andrt^ was the devoted friend and pro- 
tcgd of Sir Ilenrv Clinton, who made him his Aid, and pro- 
moted him to the position of Deputy Adjutant-General of the 
British army in America ; and it is equally certain, as 
shown by Beatson's Memoirs, that "Adjutant-General, Ma- 
jor John Andrd " was with the "force that embarked at 
New York under Clinton anil Arbuthnot." Tarleton shows 

* Kamsay s Revolution, ii, 5S ; Moullric's /Ihiiioirs. ii. loS. 



that Andre was porrormiiifr service in front of Charleston 
prior to Arhuthnol's passaj^e of Fort Moultrie c.rly in April ; 
a letter of Andr«i's is in print, dated at " Headquarters, be- 
fore Charleston," on the thirteenth of April, 1780, while 
the schedule of Charleston prisoners, in May, was reported 
by him in his official capacity — all .i(oin<jf to show, beyond a 
question, that he was at or near Charleston durinif tlie whole 
period of its investment. It was far less dangerous for him 
to pass to and from the city durinuf the siege, than it was to 
visit West Point on his subsequent mission to tempt the 
Judas of the American Revolution. 

However fascinating his talents and deportment, he was 
not entitled to the commiseration of the American people as 
an honorable but unfortunate foe. Twice he acted th-e part 
of an insidious spy, corrupting and deceiving with falsehoods 
and mean dissimulation; and he was twice, at least, guilty of 
theft — once while stationed in Philadelphia, plundering from 
the library of the University of Pennsylvania, a complete 
set of that vahuible work, L' Encyclopedia, received as a 
present from the French Academy of Science b}' the hands 
of Dr. Franklin ; on the other occasion, taking from Dr. 
Franklin's residence, which he occupied a while, a portrait 
of the philosopher.* 

An incident connected with the siege and surrender of 
Charleston, serving to illustrate the peculiarities and perils 
of the times, will verv appropriately find a place here. Rev. 
Dr. Percy resided on a plantation not very iar from Monk's 
Corner, with Mrs. Thomas Legare for a near neighbor. 
One day — probably the thirteenth of May — while Mrs. Le- 
gart^ was present, Mrs. Gibson, a poor woman, was an- 
nounced while the family and their visitor was at their meal. 
As she was usuallv the bearer of ill news, her visit verv natur- 

* Johnsons ^//(•o/"Cnr«<'. i. note 2t8-2og ; Johnson's Tradittovs c/ the iKn'oltil/on, 
*55-'57; Sirgent's l.iYe of Anil re, 225-2^8; Almon's l\^mei>i'>ranccr. x, 76-77; Dawson's 
Btitlhs of ikf United^s. i, 578; C irrinijtois liittlfs of the Revoluiinn. 457; Tirlcton's 
Ciim/'aigiis. 12.64; Heathens KnVtil itml Milllary .Miinoirs. vi. 2o!-2ot; Moore's /Jya>> 
0/ ti^i Rc-.'olution. ii, 4S4 ; and Lossin;;'!. Fichi JJooli v/tlii: Revolution, ii, 104. 


t ! 




all)' cxcitc^d the anxiety ofall. Sho exclaimed, " Good mnrn- 
in^; piM.plc ; have you heard the news? Charleston has fallen, 
and the devilish lirilish soldiers have cnt to pieces all the 
men. all the cats, all the do^s, and now they are coming to 
kill all the women and children." Terrilied by her excited 
and incoherent statement, the ladit's looki-d ready to faint; 
and Dr. Percy cried out, "For shame, Mrs. Gibson : do you 
not know that Mrs. Legare's husband and son are in 
CharK'siou, and you will frighten her to death by your wild 
talk." " Bless you, good woman," replied Mrs. Gibson, 
turning to Mrs. Legard, " I have a husband and four sons 
there, too. and God only knows if any ot' them li\'e." In 
the course of a few days. Mrs. Gilxson recei\-ed the sad in- 
telligence that her husband and lour sons had all becm killed 
during the siege.* Such are some of die vicissitudes of 

It may well be asked, why did such militarv men as 
Lincoln, Moultrie. Mcintosh, Scott, Woodford and others, 
suffer themseh'es, with a body of brave troops, to be cooped 
up in a city which they were not capable of successfully de- 
fending ? At lirst they relied on the promises of Congress 
and tlie Executive authorities of North and South Carolina of 
sending near ten thousand men. one-half of whom should 
be ri>gulars, foi- tlu" defence of the placet In the latter 
part of February it was reported that General Ilogan was 
advancing with troops from North Carolina : that General 
Moultrie was forming a camp at Bacon's Bridge, which was 
subsequently transferred to die command of General I luger ; 
that a thousand men were expected from General William- 
son's brigade in the region of Ninety Six : and that the 
veteran General Richardson, and Colonel Kershaw, were 
embod}'ing the militia of the Camden region.'!; General 
Richardson sickened and died ; General Moultrie from ill- 

* Howe's Hist. Presh. Ch. of South Carolina, 471. 

t Ramsay's Revolution, ii, 5^; Gordon's American War, iii, 348; MarshaM's Washing- 
ton, iv, 141-42; 

J Colonel Laurens, in Alinon, x, 53 : Moore's Materials Jor History,, 17^. 




ncss had to rolurn to the city. Coloiu-l Sumter at that lime 
liad no cominancl, ami Marion was liidiniLf away for the 
recovery of a broken Hmb. To enthuse the uiiHtia. and 
expedite their movements, Governor Rutled^c. the Patrick 
Ilenrv of South Carolina, and a part ot' his Councilors, left 
the beleaijuered city in April ; but they met with little suc- 
cess. The people relied too much upon succors from the 
North : besides, they were almost destitute of' amnnuiition. 

Iloiran's nartv finallv reacheil the cit\- : and about that 
time another North Carolina contin<i[ent under General 
Lillin(;ton, whose term of enlistment expired, mostly 
availed themselves of their privilege and retired before the 
serious part of the sie^e had connnenced : and less than 
two hundred of the South Carf)lina militia, probably mostly 
from the Charleston region, shared in the defence of the 
place. Congress and the States were alike crippled in 
resoinres. and everything moved tardilv. General De Kalb 
had started, past the middle of April, with fourteen hundred 
Continentals from head (juarters in New Jersey ; Colonel 
Arniand's corps, and Major Nelson's horse, were on the 
way ; and. as late as the second of May, General Caswell, 
of North Carolina, had reached Lanneau's Feriy, on the 
Santee, with eight or nine hundred Continentals and militia ; 
some militia were being gathered at Orangeburg : and Col- 
onel Ikiford's and Lieutenant-Colonel Porterfield's ^"'ir<]fin^a 
detachments, were within the borders of the State. Gen- 
eral Huger. widi Colonel I lorry's cav.ilrv, and the remnants 
of Colonel White's and Colonel Washington's dragoons, 
were scattered somewhere about the country. There was 
no concert or unity of action, and probably not sutllcient 
suppliers to admit of their concentration. But all these 
hopes of succor to the sutlering garrison were as illusive in 
the end as the i^^-iiis-falnus to the benighted traveler. 

General Lincoln was not altogether destitute of military 
supplies ; for he had four hundred pieces of ordnance of 
various caliber, for the defence of the citv and the neighbor- 

■ ( ■ 



I' I 

i ' 



iiig works ; bill tlie morUirs were few, and of shell there 
would seein to have been a veiy limited supplv. Powder 
was so pk'iity that liiere wen^ lifly thousand jKUinds at the 
surrender, besides ten thousand pounds more bricked up at 
the Exchan<;e. But even with the aid ot" six hundred ne- 
jrroes, the defensive works, from their j^reat extent, were 
tcjtally inad(.'(jiiate to the purpose ; and had there been tbrce 
enough to have properly manned them — of which there was 
a sad dellciency — the scanty supply of provisions would 
have been all the sooner exhausted. Food supplies had 
been stored, in lai\ire quantities, to the north eastward of 
Charleston ; but from the little value of the depreciated paper 
currency, the want of carriages and horses, together with 
the bad condition of the roads, they could not be transported 
to town betbre the investiture was completed. With all 
these disappointments and discouragements, and the power- 
ful army and navy, with all the appliances of war, con- 
fronting them for nearly thrive months, it is not a little sur- 
prising that General Lincoln and his brave garrison were 
able to hold out so long. 

Nor were the whites the only sufiferers.- As in Prevost's 
invasi(jn of 1779, so in Clinton's of 1780, the negro servants 
flocked in large numbers to the British army, and were 
employed in throwing up their defences and other laborious 
ojierations. Crowded together, the\- were visited by the 
camp fever; and tlie small-pox, which had not been in the 
Province for seventeen years, broke out among them, and 
spread rapidly. From these two diseases, and the impos- 
sibility of their being provided with proper accommodations 
and attendance in the British encampments, they were left 
to die in great numbers in the woods, where they remained 
unburied. A few instances occurred, in which infants were 
found in unfrequented retreats, drawing the breasts of their 
deceased mothers some tiirn' after life had expired.* 

The reduction of Charleston struck the people with pro- 

• Kamsay's Revolution, ii, C7. 


I in 



found ama/rment. coupled willi somiMliin;; akin to di'spair. 
The liitilo allcmpts of Uu> nrilisli against llic city iu 1776, 
and again in 1779. liad uispircd nearly all classes with a latal 
confidence that then- capital city would again escape the 
snares of the enemy — to be accomplished in some Providen- 
tial way, of which they had no very dear conception. Hut 
m matters of war, as of peace, (Jod helps those who help 
themselves. Had the people of South Carolina repaired in 
large numbers to their cajiital, with proper supplies ibr a 
lono-sieire ; or had the\ , while their fellows were cooped up 
within the devoted city, embodied imder such men as vSum- 
ter, Williamson, Pickens, Kershaw, Williams and other 
popular leadi'rs. harassed the besieging army, cut oil" its 
foraging jiarlies, kepi the comnnmicalion open, and encour- 
aged the beleaguered garrison to make sordes, and perhaps 
capture supplies from their enemies, the approaches of the 
British might have been retarded, and the siege proloivged 
till, perhaps, the arri\al of DeKalb ami other Ibrces trom 
the North. 

Could the enemy ha\e thus been retarded. lhe\' would 
soon have encountered a yet more dangerous Ibe in the 
rapidly approaching hot season, when cani]i life and expos- 
ure in lliat malarial climate, would have rajiidK' decimated 
their Ibrces. And there was, perhaps, still another end to 
be gained by prolonging the«siege On the second of May, 
a large French llei^t. under the Chevalier de Ternay, trans- 
porting an army of nearly six thousand of the choicest troops 
of France, commanded by the Count do Rochambeau, had 
sailed from Brest, destined to aid the young Republic in its 
struggle Ibr independence. On the twentieth of Juni'. they 
encountered a British fleet, in latitude 30°. a little south 
of the Bermuda Islands, when some distant exchanging 
of shots occurred between them. Several davs before this 
event, the French fleet had captured a British cutter con- 
veying several British officers from Charleston to tlie Ber- 
mudas, by whom they learned of the siege and capture of 







Charleston ^ ^ soon aCti-r taking another vessel, one of 
A(hniral Ai .not's licet, on its return to New York, the\' 
learned by us papi-rs and passengers a full conlirnialion 
of the fall of the devott'd eily.* 

According to Moultrie, it was tlic |)lan of Ternay and 
Rochaniheau to have attempted the reliit" <>t" Charleston, 
had they not have learned of its capture. 'i'heir intention 
was, to have iMiti-ri'd Hall's Hay, huuU-d the troops at Sevi-e's 
IiaN', then niarchi'd down to lladdri'll's I'oinl, crossing 
thence o\rr to Charleston : " whieh," says -Moultrie, "they 
could very easily havt' dmie, and would iiiixe ellectuallv 
raised the siege, and taken the Hrilish lleet in Charleston 
harl)or and in Stono Inlet, and. in ;ill probahilitv, tlu-ir 
whok' army I lad tlie news of tiiis aiiproaching lleet 

been knowi 'me bv General Lincoln, and the people of 

the surrounan.y, country, the defence of the city might have 
been proU)nged. and. perhaps, tlie niorlification of surren- 
der averted— and the salvation of Charleston been celebrated 
in history as one of the grandest achievements of the Revo- 
lution. -f 

Hut all this misadventure was not without its compensa- 
tions ; for Rochambeau's fine arm\ landed safely at New- 
port, and. in lime, joiutnl Washington, giving new life anil 
hope to the American cause, and sharing in llie capture of 
Cornwallis the following year. It was a knowledge ol' the 
fitting out of Ternay's Heel, ami its probable American des- 
tination, that prompted Sir Henry Clinton to hasten the 
capture of Charleston.' and then to exjx'dite the larger part 
of his forces to the northward, lest New York should be 
attacked and taken bv the combined French and American 

* Rocli.imboau's Memoirs, Paris, 1824, i. 241-343; Almon's Retiifiiilramer. x, 273 

t Moultrie's Memoirs, ii, 202-203; Jolinson's Traditions 2C2. 

t The liritlsh ('lovernmeiit liad kept a close watch on this larye French fleet cliirinR the 
long period of its tltliiit; o\u at ISrcst; and, no doubt apprised Sir Henry Clinton of the 
approaLhiiiR d:in^'er. The Virginia Cazette of May 31st. 1780 has a Philadelphia item 
under d.\te of May 9th. saying a (jcntlcman from New VorU stated, that it was reported in 
that city that a French and Spanish fleet was expected upon tlie American coast, and that 
the enterprise against Charleston was tu be abandoned. 



troops and navy ; and tlnis woiv the Southern Colonies left 
with Cornwallis' crippled arniv, renderin<r po.ssihie tiie noble 
services of Greene, Sumter, and Marion. 

Takinjf advaiUa^e of the cahn, IJritish detachments 
were sent out in all din-ctions to plant the Royal stauilard, 
over-awe the [H'ople, and reipiire them to taki> pioti-ction. 
Conspicuousiv observable was the ;^n-eediness ot" the con- 
(|iKM-ors for plunder. The value of the spoil, which was 
(lislributed b\ ICnylish and Hessian Comniissaries of cap- 
tures, amounted to about three hundred thousand pounds 
sterling; the dividend of a Major-CieiU'ral excei'ded over 
four thousand ^^uineas — or tw enty ihousauil dollars. There 
was no restraint upon private rapine; the silver plate of the 
planters was carrii'd olT: all ne<rroes liiat had belonged to 
Rebels were seized, even though they had themselves sought 
an asvlum within the British lines ; and, at a single embark- 
ation, two thousand were shipped to a market in the West 
Indies. British and Gennan officers thought more of 
amassing fortunes than of re-uniting the empire. The pa- 
triots were not allowtnl to appoint attorneys to manage or 
sell their estates. A sentence of confiscation hung oxer the 
whole land, and British protection was granted only in 
return for the unconditional promise of loyalty.* 

The dashing Colonel Tarleton had been dispatched w ith 
his cavalry in pursuit of Colonel l^uford's regiment, which 
had arrived too late to join the Charleston gf.rrison ; and 
\vhich were overtaken near the Waxhaw settlement, and 
many of them cut to pieces with savage cruelty. One hun- 
dred and thirteen of liuford's men were cut dow n and killed 
outright ; a hundred and fifU' too badlv hacked to be re- 
moved, w^hile only fifty-three could be brought as prisoners 
to Camden. If anything at this time could have added to 
the general depression so prevalent amcmg all classes of 
people, it was just such a barbarous butchery as this of 

*K;inis)y's Kiin'liition.W. b^i-by; (JurJuii s .liin-n\,tH // .(r, iii, 38^ ; lluncrofl's History 
Uitiletl Stittcs, X, 305-6. 



Tarleton's. Tlu' hiirlicsl cnconii 

luiis were 



Cornwallis upon tiu' hero ot this sickening' massacre. 

On llie twenU -second day of May, it was proclaimed that 
all who should thereafter oppose the Kinuj in arms, or hinder 
any one iVun joinini;' his lorces, should have his property con- 
fiscated, and be otherwise severel}' punished ; and, on the lirst 
of June, Clinton and Arbnthnot, as Royal Commissioners, 
oOered by proclamation, pardon to the penitent, on condition 
of their immediate return to allegiance ; and to the loyal, the 
pledge of their former political immunities, including free- 
dom from taxation, save by their own ciiosen Legislature. 
On the third of that month, another proclamation by Clinton, 
required all the inhabitants of the Pro\ince, " who \'.;'-e now 
prisoners on parole" to take an active part in niaintain- 
inir the Royal Government: and they were assured, that 
"•should they neglect to return to their allegiance, they will 
be treated as rebels to the Goveniment of the King." 

Thus tyrannical measures were advanced step b\' step 
till the poor paroled peojik' could no longer be protected, as 
they had been promised, by remaining quietly at home : but 
must take up arms in defence of the Government they ab- 
horred, and which was forging chains for their perpetual 
enslavement. On the eve of his di'partiu-e for New York, 
leaving the Southern command under Lord Cornwallis, 
Clinton reported to his Royal masters in England: "The 
inhabitants from every tjuarter declare their allegiance to 
the King, and ofler their ser\ices in arms. There are few 
men in South du-olina who are not either our prisoners or 
in arms with ns." 

A few weeks later, when two prominent men, one who 
had filled a high position, and both prominently concerned 
in the rebellion, went to Cornwallis to surr«;:u'.er themselves 
under the provisions of Clinton and Arbuthnot's procla- 
mation, the noble Earl could only answer that he had no 
knowledge of its exlsttMCc. And thus his Lordship com- 
menced his career as Commander-in-Chief of the South- 

\\ W 



em department, ignoring all ideas and promises of a policy 
of moderation. lie sowed tlie wind, and in the end reaped 
the whirlwind. 

The people of Souch Carolina, as we have seen, were 
not sutlicienLly arous'-d to a sense of their danger, until it 
was too late to avert it — if, indeed, they, alone and single- 
handed, could by any possibility have warded oft' the great 
public calamity. When they learned the appallin<>" news 
of the siuTender of Charleston, they had little heart t -make 
any further show of opposirion to the power of the British 
Government. Many of the country leaders, when detach- 
ments of the conquering troops were sent among them, un- 
resistingly gave up their arms, and took Royal protection 
— among whom were General Andrew Williamson. Gen- 
eral Isaac linger. Colonel Andrew Pickens, Colonel Peter 
Horry, Colonel James Mayson, Colonel LeRoy Hammond, 
Colonel John Tliomas. Sr., Colonel Isaac Ilaync, Major 
John Postell, Major John Purvis, and nian\' others. Sumter 
braved the popular tide for submission, retired alone before 
the advancing foe, leaving his home to the torch of die 
enemy, and his helpless family widiout a roof to cover 
their defenceless heads, or a morsel o(V<wd for their susten- 
ance ; while Marion, who was accidenj^ly injured at Charles- 
ton, was conveyed from the city before its linal environment, 
and was quietly recuperating in scjme sequestered place in 
the swamps of the lower part of the country. And, so far 
as South Carolina wa^^ concerned, 

'• Hope for a sea.ioii I'ailc llie vvuilil fajcwcU.'' 







1741 to May, 1780. 

Early fjfr of Paffick Ju'ri^iisou. — Jiraiulyiviiu- JhUtlc — Refrains from 
Shootiiii^ 1 1 'ashiii^^^/oit — Woiiiu/t-ii. — C \>iidiii/s Little E^y Harl>or Ex- 
pedition .—Nearly Killed by an .Iccidental .Ittack by his own Friends. 
— I^^.?^^"^ l^ridge and Monk's Corner Affair. — Resents Insults to 
Eidies. — Siege of Cliarleston. 

No man. perhaps, of his rank and years, ever attained 
more niihtary distinction in his day than Patrick Fergnson. 
As liis name will hereafter tignre so prominently in this 
narrative, it is bnt simple justice to his miniory, and alike 
due to the natural curiosity of the reader, that his career 
should be as fully and imparlially portrayed as the materials 
will permit. 

lie was the second son of James Ferguson, afterward 
Lord Pitfour, of Pitfour. an eminent adxocate, and for 
iwelve years one of the Scotch Judges, and was born in 
Aberdeenshire, ScoUand, in 1744. His mother was Anne 
Murrav. daughter of Alexander, Lord Elibank. His father, 
and his uncle, James Murray, Lord Elibank. wt>re regarded 
as men of large culture, equal, in erudition and genius, to 
the authors of the Scottish Augustan age. Having acquired 
an early education, "young Ferguson,"' says a British 
writer, "•sought fame by a dinerer*^ direction, httt icas of 
cqnallv vigoyous and hrilliant foiucrs."' When only in his 
fifteenth vear, a commission was purchased for him, and he 
entered the army July twelfth. 1759, as a Cornet, in die second 
or Roval Xortli British Dragoons, serving in the wars of 
Flanders and Germany, wherein he distinguished himself 
bv :i courage as cool as it was determined. He soon 



evinced tlu' j^reat purpose of liis life — lo brcome conspic- 
uously beneficial by professional skill and etlbrt. 

Young Ferguson joined the army in Germany soon 
after the engagement on the plains of Minden. Some skir- 
mishing took place in the subsequent part of that year. On 
the tliirtieth of June, 1760, the Dragoons, to which he was 
attached, with other corps, drove the French cavalry from 
the iield, and chased their infantry in disorder througli 
Warbourg, and across the Rymel river, gaining from the 
Commander-in-Chief the compliment of having performed 
" prodigies of valor." On the twenty-second of August, die 
Dragoons defeated a French party near Zierenberg. making 
a brilliant charge, and deciding the contest. In the follow- 
ing month they captured Zit^renberg, with two cannon and 
three hundred prisoners. During the }ear 1761, the 
Dragoons were similarly emploved ; but sutfered much 
from the bad quality of the water. Ferguson becoming dis- 
abled by sickness, was sent home, and remained the most 
of the time in England and Scotland from 1762 until 1768. 

On the first of September, in the latter vear, a commis- 
sion of Captain was purchased for him in the sevendeth 
regiment of foot, then stationed in the Caribbee Islands, in 
the West Indies, whither he repaired, and performed im- 
portant service in cjuelling an insurrection of the Caribs on 
the Island of St. ^'incent. These Caribs were a mixture of 
the African with the native Indian tribes : thev were brave, 
expert in the use of tire-arms, and their native fastnesses 
had greatly aided them in their resistance to the Govern- 
ment. The troops suftered much in this service. 

The regiment remained in the Caribbee Islands till 1773. 
About this periotl. Captain Ferguson was stationed a while 
in the peaceful garrison of Halifax, in Xova Scotia : and 
disdaining inglorious ease, he embarked for England, w here 
he assiduouslv employed his time in acquiring military 
knowledge and science. When the disputes between the 
Mother countrv and her Coloni';s were verging toward 






hostilities, the boasted skill of the Americans in the use of 
the rifle, was regarded as an object of terror to the British 
troops. These rumors operated on the genius of Ferguson, 
and he invented a new species of rifle, which could be 
loaded with greater celerity, and fu'ed with more precision 
than any then in use. He could load his newly constructed 
gun at the breech, without using the ramrod, and with such 
quickness and repetition as to Are seven times in a minute, 
lie was regarded as the best rifle shot in the British 
army, if not the best marksman li\ing — excepting, possi- 
bly, his old associate, George Hanger;*' and in adroitness 
and celerity in loading and liring, whether prostrate or 

*Tlns possible exccplion should be somewhat qualified. The British writers, including 
several who knew whereof they wrote, unite in ascribing this high character to Fergnson's 
skill in the use of his improved rifle. Major Hanger, in his Li/(' and Opinions, written 
after Ferguson had been twenty years in his grave, claims not simply equal, hut superior 
skill. The redoubtable .Major relates, with no little naivete, this ludicrous anecdote, as 
occurring in New Yi.rk City, in 178^, when Sir Guy Carleton had become Commander in- 
Chief of the Urilish forces. Sitting opposite the Major at dinner one day. Sir Guy said : 
" Major Uanger, I have been told that you are a most skilful marksman with a rifle-gun — I 
have heard of astonishing feats that you have performed in shooting." Tlianking him for 
the compliment, I told his li.xcellency. that "I was vain enough to say, with truth, that 
many officers in the army had witnessed my adroitness. I then began to inform Sir Guy 
how my old deceased friend. Colonel Ferguson, and myself, had practiced together, who, for 
skill and knowledge of that weapon, had been so celebrated, and that Ferguson had ever 
acknowledged the superiority of my skill to his. after one particular day's practice, wlien 
I had shot three halls into one hole." Sir Guy replied to this : " I know you are very 
e.xpert in this art." Now. had I been quiet, and satisfied with the compliment the Com- 
mander-in-Chief paid me. and not pushed the matter further it had been well for me; but I 
replied: "Yes, Sir Guy. I really have reduced the art of shooting with a rifle to such a 
nicety, that, at a moderate distance, I kill a flea with a single ball." At this. Sir Guy 
began to stare not a little, and seemed to indicate from the smile on his countenance, that he 
thought I had rather out-stepped my usual oiitdoings in the art. Observing this, I respect- 
fully replied: "I see by your Excellency's countenance that you seem doublful of the 
singularity and perfection of my art ; hut if 1 may presume so much, as to dare offer a wager 
to my Commaiiderin Chief, I will bet your Excellency five truineas that I kill a flea with a 
single ball once in eisht shots, at eight yards." Sir Guy replieil : " My dear Major. I am 
not given to lav wafers, but for once 1 will bet vou five guineas. prr>vided you will let the 
flea hof>." A loud laugh ensued at the table; and. after laughing heartily myself. 1 placed 
my knuckle under the table, and striking it from beneath, said : "Sir f>uy, I knock under, 
and will never speak fif my skill in shnotin.g with a rifle-gun ag.iin before you," 

Neither Ferguson nor Hanger were aware of a remarkable youth at that time in the 
Wheeling region. Lewis Wetzel, who had learned to load but a cinimon rifle as he sped 
swiftly through the woods with a pack of Indians at his heels. Killing one of a party, four 
others singled out. determined to catch alive the bold young warrior First, one fell a vic- 
tim to his unerring rifle, then another, and finally a third, in the race for life; when the 
only survivor stopped short, gave a yell of despair and disappointment, saying: ''No 
catch dat man— gun always loaded." 



erect, he is said to have excelled the best American fron- 
tiersman, or even the expert Indian of the tbre^t. He often 
practiced, and exhibited his dexterity in the use of the rifle, 
both at Black lli-ath and Woolwich. Such was his exe- 
cution in lirinL,f, that it almost exceeded the bounds of 
credibilitN . ha\ino- very nearly- brought his aim at an ob- 
jective point almost to a mathematical certainty. 

On the lirst of June. 1776, Captain Ferguson made some 
riile experiments at Woolwich, in the presence of Lord 
Townshend, master of ordnance. Generals Amherst and 
lia\vle\-. and otlu-r otlicers of high rank and large militarx' 
experience. Notwithstanding a heavy rain, and a high wind, 
lie lired during the space of four or live minutes, at the rate of 
four shots ]ier minute, at a target two hundred yards distance. 
1 le next lired six shots in a minute. lie also lired, while 
advancing at the rate of four miles per hour, four times in a 
iiiinule. lie then poured a bottle of water into the pan and 
barrel of the rille when loaded, so as to wet every grain of 
powder; and, in less than half a minute, he fired it olT, as 
well as ever, without extracting the ball. Lastlv. he hit the 
l)uirs eye target, lying'on his back on the ground. Incredi- 
ble as it might seem, considering the variations of the wind, 
and the wetness of the weather, he missed the target only 
three times during the wliole scries of experiments. These 
military dignitaries were not only satisfied but astonished 
at the perfection of both his rifle and his practice. On one 
of these occasions. George the Third honored him with his 
presence: and. towards the chjse of the year, a patent was 
grank'd tor all his improvements. 

According to the testimony of eye-witnesses, he would 
check his horse, let tlie reins fall upon the animal's neck, 
draw a pistol from his holster, toss it aloft, catch it as it fell, 
aim. and shoot the head oil' a bird on an adjacent fence.* 
"It is not certain," says the British Aiiiuml Ixcuktcr for 




* General J. \V. D. DePcystcr's King's Mountain, in Historical Magazine March i86g, 
p. lew, 



1 781, " tliat thevSe improvements produced all the eftect in 
real service, which had been expected from those astonishing 
specimens of tliem tiuit were displayed in England.*' 

Anxious to take an active part in the American war, a 
hundred select men were chosen for his command, whom 
he took unwearied pains to instruct in tlie dextrous use of 
his newly invented rifle. In the spring of 1777, he was 
sent to America — to him, a much coveted service. Joining 
the main army under Sir Henry Clinton, he was placed at 
the head of a corps of riflemen, picked iVom the diflerent 
regiments, and soon after participated, under Sir William 
Howe, in the battle of Brandywine, on the eleventh of 
September. ■' General Knyphausen," says a British writer, 
" with another division, marched to Chad's Ford, against 
the Provincials who were placed there. In this service the 
German General experienced ver}- important assistance from 
a corps of riflemen commanded by Captain Patrick Fer- 
guson- whose meritorious conduct was acknowledged by 
the whole British army.'' 

In a private letter from Captain Ferguson, to his kins- 
man. Dr. Adam Ferguson, he details a ver}' curious incident, 
which occurred while he lay, with his riflemen, in the skirt 
of a wood, in front of Kn\'phausen's division. '' We had 
not lain long," says Captain Ferguson, " when a Rebel of- 
ficer, remarkable by a hussar dress, passed towards our 
army, within a hundred yards of my right flank, not per- 
ceiving us. He was followed by another, dressed in dark 
green andMue. mounted on a bay horse, with a remarkably 
high cocked hat. I ordered three good sliots to steal near 
to and fire at them ; but the idea disgusting me, I recalled 
the order. The hussar, in returning, made a circuit, but 
the other passed within a hundred yards of us, upon which 
I advanced from the wood towards him. Upon my calling, 
he stopped; but after looking at me, he proceeded. I again 
drew his attention, and made signs to him to stop, levelling 
my piece at him ; but he slowly cantered awa}-. As I was 



within that distance, at which, in the quickest tirin<^f, I 
could have iud<red halt" a dozen balls in or about him, betbre 
he was out of m^- reach, I had only to deterinine ; but it 
was not pleasant to tire at the back of an unortending in- 
dividuid, who was acquitting himself very coolly of his 
duty — so I let him alone. The day after, I had been telling 
this story to some wounded officers who hu' in the same 
room with me, when one of the surgeons, who had been 
dressing the wounded Rebel officers, came in, and told us, 
that they had been informing him that General Washington 
was all the morning with the light troops, and only attended 
by a French officer in hussar dress, he himself dressed and 
mounted in every point as above described. [ am not sorry 
that I did not knozv at the time zvho it zva$y* 

A British writer suggestively remarks, in this connection, 
that, " unfortunately Ferguson did not personally know 
Washington, otherwise the Rebels would have had a new 
General to seek." Had Washington fallen, it is difficult to 
calculate its probable etfect upon the result of the struggle of 
the American people. I low slight, oftentimes, are the inci- 
dents which, in the course of events, seem to give direction to 
the most momentous concerns of the human race. This sin- 
gular impulse of Ferguson, illustrates, in a forcible manner, 
the over-ruling hand of Providence in directing the operation 
of a man's mind when he himself is least of all aware of it. 

There is, however, some doubt whether it was really 
Washington whom Ferguson was loo generous to profit by 
his advantage. James Fenimore Cooper relates, in the 
New York Mirror., of April sixteentli, 183 1 , on the authority 
of his late father-in-law. Major John P. DeLancey, some 
interesting facts, corroborating the main features of the 
storv. DeLancev was the second in command of Feriju- 
son's rirtemen, and had seen Washington in Philadelphia 

* Percy Anecdotes, Harper's edition, !i, 52; ISritish Annual Keffisier, 17S1, 51 ; Political 
Mn^azine. 1781. 60; /list, of War in America, iii. 149; Andrews' Hist 0/ the War. iv. 84 ; 
James" Life of Marion. 76-77 ; Irvine's Washington, iv. 51-52 ; Days Pennsyhiania Hist, 
Colls., 213; National Intelligencer, May, 1851. 









the year before the comnieiu'einent of the war. " Duriiij^ 
tlie luaiKi'iivres which pri'ceck'cl ihi' battle of IhaiulN u inr." 
said Mr. Cooper, " riileineii were ke|U skirmishing 
in advance of one of tlie British coknnns. 'J'hi'\ had crossed 
some open ground, in \\ hich Ferguson was woimded in the 
arm, and had taken a position in liie skirls ol' a thick wood. 
While Cajitain UeJ^ancey was occupied in arranging a shng 
f(jr Fergiison's wounded arm. it was reported that an Ameri- 
can othcer of rank, attended onh- by a mounted orderly, 
had ridden into the open groimd, and was dien within point- 
blank riile shot. Two or three of the best marksmen 
stepped forward, and asked leave to bring him down. Fer- 
guson peremptorily refused ; but he went to the wood, and 
showing himself, menaced the Amt-rican with several rifles, 
while he called to him, and made signs to him to come in. 
^rhe mounted olFicer saw his enemies, drew his reins, and 
sat lookintr at them attentively for a few moments. 

"A sergeant/' ccnitinues Mr. Cooper, "now olTered to 
hit the horse without injuring the rider, but Ferguson still 
withlield his consent, alllrming that it was Washington re- 
connoitermg, and that he would not be the instrument of 
placing the lil'e of so great a man in jeopardy by so unfair 
means. The horseman tiu'ned and rode slowly awa^'. To 
his last moment, Ferguson maintained that the ollicer whose 
life he had spared was W^ashington. I have often iieard 
Captain DeLancvw relate these circumstances, and though 
he never pretended to be sure of the person of the unknown 
horseman, it was his opinion, iVom some particulars of dress 
and stature, that it was thu Count Pulaski. Though in 
error as (o the person ol' the individual whom he sparixl, 
the merit of Major Ferguson is not at all diminished "' by 
its supposed correction. 

Captain Ferguson, as we have seen, encoimtered some 
American sharp-shooters in the battle as keen and skilllul 
as himself in the use of the rifle, and received a dangerous 
wound which so shattered his right arm, as to forever after 



render it useless.* During the period of his unfitness for 
service, General Howe distrihuled his rillemen among other 
corps; hut on his recovery, he again embodied them, and 
renewed his former active career. When satistied that he 
would nevt'r regain the use of his right hand, he practiced, 
and soon ac(|uired the use of his sword, with the left. A 
writer in tlie Pol it ir a! Maouniiie for 1781, states that Fer- 
guson was in the battle of Germantown, on the fourth of 
October ensuing — was tliere wounded, and there canie near 
bringing his rille to bear on Washington ; but it is not prob- 
abh' that he was sulliciently recovered of his SL'Vt're wound 
received at I>randywine, to have taken the lield three weeks 
afterwards — j-jesides, the autliorities show, tliat it was at 
Brandy wine whert." \\v so narrowly escaped the temptation 
to try the acciu'acy of his rille on the American Commander- 
in-Chief, or some other prominent ollicer, making observa- 
tions, and where he was so griex'ously wounded. 

When the British evacuated Philadelphia, in June, 1778, 
Captain Ferguson acccjmpanied the retiring forces to New 
York, and, of course, participated in the battle of Mon- 
mouth on the way. It was fought on one of the hottest days 
of the summer, when many of the British soldiers died from 
the etlects of the heat. For some time at'ter reaching New 
York, Captain Ferguson and his rille corps were not called 
on to engage in an}- active service. 

Little Fgg Harbor, on the eastern coast of New Jersey, 
had long been noted as a place of rendezvous for American 
privateers, which preyed largely upon British commerce. 
A vast amount of property had been brought into this port, 
captured iVom the enemy. " To destroy this nest of rebel 
pirates," as a British writer termed it, an expedition was 
litted out from New York, the close of September, 1778, 
composed of three hiuulred regulars, and a body of one 
hundred Royalist volunteers, all under the command of Cap- 

* Beatson's Navtil anti Mili'/ary Afemot'rs, vi, 83; Mackenzie's Slruiures on Tarle- 
ton. 23, 




tain Fcrj^usnn. Captain Ili-nry Colins, of the Navy, trans- 
porli'd tlu' troops in ritrht or ten armed vessels, and shared 
in the enterprise. From initoward weather, they were lonjL^ 
at sea. General Washington, hearinjLj of the expetlition, 
dispatched Count Pulaski and his Le<,non cavalry, and at 
tlu' same time sent an express to Tuckerton, as did also 
Governor LiviniLfston, givini^r information, so that four pri\a- 
teers put to sea and escapi'd. while others took refuLje \\\t 
\\\v Little I'v^g Harbor river. Fer<ruson's party reached tlu' 
Harbor on the afternoon of the lifth of October, and, 
taking his smaller craft, pushed twenty miles up the stream 
to Chestnut Neck, where wt're st'veral \essels, about a dozen 
houses, with stores for the reception of the prize j^oods, 
and accommodations lor the privateers men. Here were 
some works erectt'tl for the protection of the place, and a 
few men occupying them ; but no artillery had 3'et been 
placed there The prize vessels were hastily scuttled and 
dismantled, and the small American party easily driven into 
the woods, when Captain Ferguson's force demolished the 
batteries, burning ten vessels and the houses in the village. 
Tlu> ])ritish in this alVair had none killed, and but a single 
soldier wounded. Had he arrived sooner, Ferguson in- 
tended to have pushed forward with celerity twenty miles 
fardier, to "The Forks," which was accounted only thirty- 
live miles from Philadelphia. IJut the alarm had been 
spread through the country, and the local militia had been 
reinforced bv Pulaski's cavalry, and live Held pieces of 
Colonel Proctor's artillerv : so die idea of reachino- and 
destro\inu the stores and small craft there, had to be aban- 

Returning the next day, October the seventh, down the 
river, they reached two of dieir armed sloops, which had got 
aground on their upward passage, and were still fast. 
Thev were lightened, and got oil' the next mornin<f. Dur- 
ing the delay. Captain Fergu.son employed his troops, 
under cover of the gunboats, in an excursion on the north 



shore, to destroy soino principal salt works, also some 
stores, (l\velliii<fs, and Tucker's Mill ; these were sacked 
and laid in ashes — all, as was asserted by the British, being 
the property of persons concerned in privateering, or 
"whose activity in the cause of America, and unrelenting 
persecution of the Loyalists, marked them out as the 
objects (jf vengeance." As those persons wen- pointed out 
b\' the New lersev Torv volunteers, who accompanied the 
expedition, we may well imagine that private pique, and 
neighborhood feuds, entered largely into these proscriptions. 

To cover Ferguson's expedition, and distract the attention 
of Washington, Sir Henry Clinton had detached Lord Corn- 
wallis with live thousand men into New Jersey, and General 
Knyphausen with three thousand into Wes^ .ic-ier county. 
Learning of Colonel Baylor's dragoons bei.ig at old Tappan. 
Cornwallis selected General Grey to siu'prise them which he 
etlected much in the same manner as Ferguson subsequently 
siiuck Pulaski's infantry, unawares — eleven having l^een 
killed outright, twenty-tivi' mangled with repeati'd thrusts, 
some receiving ten, twelve, and even sixteen wounds. It 
was a merciless treatment of men who sued for quarter. 
Among the wounded were Colonel Baylor and Major Clough 
— the latter, mortally ; and about forty prisoners taken, 
mostly through die humane interposition of one of Grey's 
Captains, wliose feelings revolted at the orders of his san- 
guinary connnander — the same commander who had, the 
year before, performed a similarly bloody enterprise against 
Wayne, at Paoli. 

Recalling these predatory parties to New York, Sir 
Henry Clinton directed Admiral Gambler to write Captain 
Colins in their joint behalf, that they thought it nnsafe for 
him and Captain Ferguson to remain longer in New Jersey. 
But Captain Colins' vessels being wind-bound for several 
days, gave Captain Ferguson time for another enterprise. 
r)n the evening of the thirteenth of October, some deserters 
from l*ulaski's Legion gave information of that corps being 




posli'd, within strii^iiitj ilislaiici', i-U'vcn niik's up thr river; 
wlu'ii l'\igiis()ii lonm.'cl llu- tU'si^n of ;Uli.'mj)liii^ ihcir sur- 

The chii r of ihi'se deserters was oiu" Juliet, a renej^ade 
from the I lessians the preeecUui; winter, who was sent by the 
Hoard of War to Puhiski, without a coinniission indi-i'd, 
hut with orders to ju'rinil hini to do llu* (hitv ol a Sul)-IJeu- 
tenant in the Le^don. This man was treated with such cHs- 
respect by Lieutenant-Colonel Jiaron l)t« Hosen, whose hii,di 
sense of honor led him to despise a person, wiio, even thouifji 
a commissioned otiicer, could hi' guilty ol' desertintr his 
colors, that the culprit determini'd to reveni(i' himself in a 
manner that could not ha\e been fori'seiMi or imaiL(ined. 
Uniler pretence of fishing', In; one da\' left the camp with 
live others, and as the\ did not return at the proper time, 
and it could not In- suppnsed that Juliet would have tin- har- 
dihood to rejoin the eneniw lhe\ weri' thought to ha\e been 
drowned. Hut Juliet had thi' duplicity to di-bauch three of 
the soldiers, and the otiu'r two were ibrced to ljo with them. 

Pulaski's corps, as ihe deserters correctly stated, con- 
sisted of three companies ol'infantry. ()ccup\inif thrc^e houses 
by thernsel\-es, under the Lieutenant-Colonel Haron De 
IJosen : while Pulaski, with a troop of cavalrv. was sta- 
tioned some distance beyond, with a detachment ot" artillery, 
havini^ a brass lield piece. Accordingly I'^erguson selected 
two hundred and lil'ty men. partly marines, leaving in boats 
at eleven o'clock on the night of the fourteenth ; and, at'ter 
rowing ten miles, lluy reached a bridge at tour o'clock the 
next morning, within a mile of Pulaski's infantrv. The 
bridge was seized, so as to cover their retreat, and lift)- men 
left for its defence. Deliosen's inl'antry companies were sur- 
rounded and completely surprisi'd, and attacked as they 
emerged from their houses. "It being a night attack," 
says Ferguson, in his report, "■little quarter could, of course, 
be given" — so they cut, and slashed, and bayoneted, killing 
all who came in their way. and taking only live prisoners. 



'J'lu- Amrr'u'ans, rousril iVoin lluir sluinlHTs, loiiglit as wi'll 
as tlu'\' loiiUl. 

Tlu' hapli'ss liaroii Df Uosi'ti. (Hi llic tlrsi alarm, nisla-d 
out. arnu'd willi liis swurtl and pistols ; ami lli<)ii;^h he was a 
ri'inarkahl}' sloiil tnati. and loiiiL^dit liki- a liuii, he was soon 
nvcrjiowiTi'd by laiinhiTs and kilk-d. S(» far, at K-ast, as 
llu- doublf-lraiLor. Juliet,* was coiitrrncd. rcvi-n^r on 
Do IJoscn si'i'Uis to lia\r hern his ohji-el ; and his \'oiee 
was distinel'y lu'ard exchiiniinif. amid llu- din and eont'usion 
of the strife : '* This is tlie Colonel — kill him \" l)e liosen's 
body was found pierced with bayom-ts. Lii'uli'uant I)e 
La Borderie, toyi'ther with sonu; forty ol the nu-n, were also 
amoUjLf the slain. It was a sad and sanguinary occurrence. 

On the first alarm, i'ulaski hastened with his cavalry to 
the support of his unfortunate intantr\-, when the British, 
hearin^r the clatterinu;- hoofs, <j;i\ in^" note of their approach, 
lied in dis(jrder. leavinij behind them arms, accoutrements, 
hats, blades, etc. I'ulaski captured a fi'w prisoners ; liut 
between tlu' place ol" conllict and the bridge was very 
swampv, over which llu" ca\alry could scarcely walk. 
Reachini;" the bridm'. llu'y lounil llu' plank thrown oil', to 
]irevent pursuit by tlie ca\alry. The rilK-men, and some of 
the inl"antr\ , however, passed over on the strinL^-jMeces, and 
lired somi' xoUeys on the rear of the retreating' Ibe, which 
thev returni'd. '"\Ve had the advantau'e." savs I'ulaski, 
"and made them run again, although they out-iuunbered 
us." As llie ca\ahy coulil not pass the stream. Pulaski 
recalled his pioneers: and he adds, in his report, that his 
partv cut otr about twentv-five of Feriiuson's nn-n in their 
retreat, who took refuge in the woods, and doubtless subse- 
quently rejoined their friends. Ferguson's loss, as he 
reported it, was two killed, three wounded, and one missing. 

* Juliet seems imt to have lieun iruwned witli lioiiors l)y llit Hrilisli 'H Ins roliirn. A 
I'.ritisli Dinry "f the Revolution, piihlished in Vnl. iv of the IIistori<.il .Mni^miin: |). ' {0. 
under dale Xewi)ort. R. I., January nth. 1779, states: "In tlie fleet from Lony island 
arrived several Hessians, anions them is one Lieutenant Juliet, of the I.andgravj ri-siment 
who deserted to tlie Provincials when the Island was besieged by them, and tlicn went 
back to New York. J/e is uiHiiraii nrrest," 

I- a: I*. ' . ; r 



lie attempted to excuse tlie butchery of Pulaski's unsus- 
pecting iniantrv, In' alleging that he learned from the 
deserters, who came to iiim, that the Count had, \n public 
orders, forbade all granting of quarters — information which 
proved to be false, and w hich Ferguson should never have 
trusted, especially on the word of deserters. It is credit- 
able, however, to his humanity, amid the excitements and 
horrors of war, that he refrained iVom wantonly destroying 
the houses of non-combatants, though thev sheltered the 
personal etiects of his enemies. " We had an opportunity," 
says Ferguson, in his report to Sir llcnry Clinton, ** of 
destroying part of the baggage and equipage of Pulaski's 
Legion, by burning their quarters, but, as the houses 
belonged to some inoffensive C^^iakers, who, I am afraid, 
have sutliciently sullered already in the confusion of a night's 
scramble, I know. Sir, that you will think with us, that the 
injury to be thereby done to the enemy, would not have 
compensated for the sullerings of these innocent people." 

As the lleet were going out of Litde Egg Ilarbtjr, the 
Zebra, the flag-ship, grounded, and to prevent her from 
falling into the haiuls of the Americans, Captain Colins 
ordered her set on lire : and as tlie tire reached her guns, 
they were discharged, much to the amusement of the Amer- 
icans, who beheld the conflagration. Besides their military 
operati jns. Judge Jones, the Royalist historian of New 
York, states of lu-rguson and his men, that they "plun- 
dered the inhabitants, burnt their houses, their churches, 
and their barns ; ruined their farms ; stole 'Jieir cattle, hogs, 
horses, and sheep, and then triumphantb, returned to New 
York " — evidendy conveying the idea that this mode of 
warfare was not honorable to those who ordered, nor to 
those who were engaged in it. 

Irving denounces Ferguson's enterprise as "a marauding 
expedition, worthy of die times of the buccaneers." Sir 
Henry Clinton, on the other hand, reported it to the Home 
Government, as a " success, under the direction of tliat 



very active and zealous ofllcer, Ferguson," whilt" Admiral _ 
Gambier pronounced it '• a spirited service." Ferjifuson fidly 
accomplisiied the purpose for which he set out — the destruc- 
tion of the vessels, stores, and works at Little E;^,t^ Harbor; 
and, in addition, inllicted a severe blow on a portion of 
Pulaski's Le!4"ion.* 

During the campaign of 1779, Captain Ferguson was 
engaged in sexcral predatory incursions along the coast, 
and on the Hudson — having been stationed awhile at Ston}' 
Point before its captiu'e by Wayne; steadily increasing the 
contidence of his superiors, and extorting the respect of the 
Americans for his valor and enterprise. On the twenty-tifth 
of October, in this year, he was promoted to the rank of 
Major in the second battalion of the seventy-first regiment, 
or Highland Light Infantry, composed of Frasers, Camp- 
Ik'IIs. McArthurs. McDonalds, McLeods, and man\- others 
ofthelinest Scotch laddies in the l^ritish service. 

When Sir Henry Clinton fitted out his expedition against 
Charleston, at the close of 1779, he very naturally selected 
Major Ferguson to share in the important enterprit','. A 
corps of diree hundred men. called the American Voli nteers, 
was assigned for his command — he having the choice of 
bf)th otlicers and soldiers ; and for this special service, he 
had given him, the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. At his 
request. Major Hanger's corps of two bundled Hessians 
were to be joined to Ferguson's. Early in February, the 
seventy-first regiment and Ferguson's corps were sent from 
Savannah to Augusta : and, early in March, the American 
\'()lunteers formed a part of the Georgia troops, who were 
ordered, under (General Patterson, to march towards Charles- 
ton, and join the main force under Sir Henrv Clinton. 

*Toiirliinij this Little Ej;i; Harbor expedition, sec reports of Sir Henry Clintnii. Ailmi- 
ral CianihiLr, Captains Kerens. m and Ccilins, in Almon x, fsi>-5''): I'niaski's repuri. Pennsyl- 
vania f'lii/ict. October 2», 1778; Uivinylon's Koynl Cit:ft/i\ Oct'iber 24. 1778; Political 
M<ii^,izini\ 1781. p. fio; MarshalTs U^nshinfffiui, rcvisetl edition, i. 'J70-71 ; Rt'^/y to Judt^f 
Johnson, vindiiaiing ("onnt I'niaski. by Paul I'entalmi. sonii r 1 aptain in Pnlaski's Lcgiuii, 
iSift. 36-37; Irving's ll'iislihigton, iii, 472-75; Bancroft's History, x, 15s; Lossing's Fii/it 
P'i'l:. ii. S2y ; Harber S: Howes' A :u Jersey, 108-9; and Jcnes' History of Ne;^' York 
During the Kevolutionary War, ij-'S;. 

' J 

li ' 



On tliL* thirteenth of the month, Lieutenant-Colonel Fcr- 
<j^us()n. with liis Volunteers, and Major Cochrane, with the 
intantr\- of Tarleton's Legion, were ordered forward to 
secure llie passes at Bee Creek, Coosahatchie, and Tully 
Finny bridges, about twenty-six miles in athance of the 
army, which w as as promptly eifected as the obstacles in 
the way would jiermit. It was a toilsome march through 
swanijis and diliicult passes, having frequent skirmishes 
witii tlie opposing militia of tiie country. These active olll- 
cers, with tlieir light troops, received intelligence of two 
parlies ol inounted Americans at some distance in achance. 
and at once n-sohod to surprise them by a night attack — a 
kind of service lor which Colonel Ferguson luul an especial 
lilness, and in which he took unusual di'light. 

Arri\ing at nine o'clock in liu' exening near the spot 
iVom which ho meant to dislodge tlie Americans, at Mc- 
Piierson's ])lantation, Ferguson discovered tliat the\ had 
decamped, and he consequently took possession of tiu-ir 
abandoned position, camping there for the night, aiul 
awaiting the arrival of the main British force, who were to 
pass near it the next morning. Major Cochrane, w itli his 
party, piloted by another route, througii swamps and b}-- 
wavs, arrived, before morning, just in front of Ferguson's 
camp; and, judging by die fires that the Americans were 
still diere. led his men t(^ the attack witii li.xed bayonets. 
Ferguson, expecting that the iVmerican party miglit return, 
had his picket guard out. who, seeing tlu' approach of what 
they regarded as an enemy, gave the alarm, when the 
Legion rushed upon them, driving them pell-mell to Fergu- 
son's camp, w here the aroused American \'olunteers were 
ready > recei\e them. "Charge I" was the word on both 
sides : md, for a little season, the conflict raged. Ferguson, 
wielding his sword in his left hand, di'fendfd himself", as 
well as he could, against three assailants, who opposed him 
with fixed bayonets, one of which was unfortunately thrust 
through his left arm. When on the point of falling, amid 



the confusion and clashin::^ of arms, Major Cochrane and 
Colonel Ferguson, almost at tlie same moment, recognized 
each other's voices, and exerted themselves to jiut a stop to 
the mistaken contlict. Two ol" Ferguson's men, and one of 
tlie Legion, were killed in this unliappy alVair. and several 
wounded on both sides. Lieutenant McIMu-rson, ot' the 
Legion, received ha\-onet wounds in the hand and shoulder. 

Hut tor the timely recognition, on the part of the com- 
manders, of the nnitual mistake, Colonel Ferguson would 
most likely have lost his life — "a life," says iNLijor Hanger, 
'•equally valuable to the wlujle arm\-, and to his friends." 

*' It was melancholy enough," wrote a participant in tlie 
allair, near three weeks afterwards, " to see Colonel Fergu- 
son disabled in both arms : but, thank God, lie is perfectly 
recovered again." Tarleton comiricnds " the intrepiditv 
and presence of mind of the leaders," in this casual engage- 
ment, as having saved their respective parties from a more 
fatal termination. "The whole army felt for the gallant 
Ferguson," says Hanger; and the peculiar circumstances 
attending this unlucky conflict, long furnished the camp and 
bivouac with a melancholy topic of conversation.* 

The fleet having crossed the bar, and gained the water 
command thence to Charleston, enabled Sir Henr\- Clinton 
to bestow more attention than he had hitherto done, to cut- 
ting otT the connnunications of the Americans between the 
city and country. A body of militia, together with the 
remains of three Continental regiments of liglit drauoons, 
k-d by Colonel Washington and otIu>rs. and all under tlie 
command of General Huger. were stationed at Iliggin 
J3ridge, near Monk's Corner, about thirty miles from 
Charleston. To destroy or disperse this partv. and thus 
inevent supplies of food and rc-inforcenients of men to the 
beleaguered city, was a capital object with .Sir Henr\ Clin- 
lon ; and its immediate execution was assigned to Colonel 

*Trirleton's C<rw/.t/."/.f. 7-8; Marken?ic's ,SV;7V7«;« «,, /;(;•/,/,.«, 2j ; Hanger's Reply 

10 jlAi, /.(V/i/,', ^4--; : Sii-iie of C/iar/fif,<ii, •;L!-;g. 



Tarlcton and liis l-,c'i,n()n, to be secoiuk'd liy Lioulfnant- 
ColoiH'l FiT^uson and his ritk'tiu'ii. Tarleton was dashing, 
tireless, and unmerciful. "Ferguson," says Irving, "was 
a tit associate for Tarleton, in hard}-, scrambling, partisan 
enterprise ; equally intrepid and determined, but cooler, and 
more open to impulses of humanity." 

As a night march had been judged the most advisable, 
"^Farleton and Ferguson moved, on the evening of April 
thirteenth, from Goose creek, half way from Chark'ston, to 
strike, if possible, an effective blow at Iluger's camp. Some 
distance beyond, a negro was descried attempting to leave 
the road, and avoid notice. He was seized, and was dis- 
covered to be a servant of one of Iluger's olbcers. A letter 
was taken from his pocket, written by his master the pre- 
ceding afternoon, which, with the negro's intelligence, pur- 
chased lor a few dollars, proved a fortunate circimistance for 
the advancing party. They learned the relative positions of 
Iluger's forces, on both sides of Cooper river, and had in 
him a guide to direct them there, through unfrequented 
paths and by-ways. 

Destitute of patrols, linger was, in ell'ect, taki-n com- 
pletely by surprise ; and the bold and sudden onset, about 
three o'clock in the morning of the fourteenth. c|uickly 
scattered the astonished Americans. They had. indeed, 
some slight notice of the attack : but they were not properK' 
prepared for it. The cavalry was posted on the side of the 
river where the tirst approach was made, and the infantry on 
the opposite bank. "Although," says Ramsay, "the com- 
manding otlicer of the American cavalry had taken the pre- 
caution ol having his horses saddled and bridled, and the 
alarm was given by his videttes, posted at the distance of a 
mile in front : yet, being entirely unsupported bv infantrv, 
the British advanced so raj'jidlv. notwithstanding the opjiosi- 
tion of the advanced guard, that thev began tlu-ir attack on 
the main body before they could put themselves in a postinx* 
of defence." Then Major Cochrane, with Tarleton's Legion, 



quickly /orccd the passage of Biggin Bridge, and drove 
General linger and the intantr^' before him. " In diis 
allair," says James, "Major James Conyers, of the Ameri- 
cans, distinguished himself by a skillful retreat, and by call- 
ing otV the attention of the enemy tVom his sleeping friends 
to himself. In this surprise, the British made tree use of 
tile bayonet ; the houses in Monk's Corner, then a village, 
were afterwards deserted, but long bore the marks of deadly 
thrust and much blood-shed." 

Several otlicers, who attempted to defend themselves, 
were killed or wounded. The assailing party lost but one 
ollicer and two privates woiuuled, with live horses killed or 
disabled. General linger, Ct)lonel Washington, and Major 
Jameson, witli most of their troops, fled to the adjacent 
s\\ amps and thickets ; while three Captains, one Lieutenant, 
and ten privates were killed ; one Major, one Captain, two 
Lieutenants, and fifteen privates were wounded, and sixtv- 
four ofiicers and men, including the woimded, were made 
prisoners. Some two lumdred horses, from thirtv to forty 
wagons, and (juite a supply of pro\isions and military 
stores, were among tb' trophies ">f the victors. U it was 
not a " shameful surjirise," as General Moultrie pro- 
nounced it, it was, at least, a very distressing atVair for the 
Americans. Poor General linger, and his aid, John Izard, 
remained in the swamp from Friday morning, the time of 
tlie surprise, till die succeeding Monday : it was a long fast, 
and the exposure produced severe sickness on the part of 
the General, causing him to retire awhile from the service.* 

Among the American wounded was Major Vernier, a 
b'reiich. ollicer, who commanded the remains of the Legion 
of Count Casimir Pulaski, wlu) had lost his life at Savan- 
nah tlu- preceding autumn. " The Major," says Steadman, 
a British historian and eve-witness, '* was mangled in the 
most shocking manner ; lie had several wounds, a severe 

* Ramsny's Ixet'oliitwii, ii. 64; Moiillrie's Afeiiioirs, ii, 7a: Tarleton's Campaigns, 15-17; 
Steadniaii's Aimticah II ur. ii. 182-81: J.imes' f.i/e 0/ Marion, 16-J7; Siege 0/ Charleston, 
i.'4, 1O4 ; Simm's South Carolina in the Kerolution. 125. 138; Irving's Washington, iv, 51-52. 


■ I 




11 'i 

one behind his oar. This iinforlunatp ofllcor lived several 
hours, reprolialiii!^ ihi' Americans for their conduct on this 
occasion, and even in his last moments cursing tlie British 
for their barbarity, in having ret'used quarter after he had 
surrendered. The writer of this, who was ordered on this 
expedition, allbrded ever}- assistance in his power, and liad 
the Major put upon a table, in a public house in the village, 
and a blanket thrown over him. In his last moments, 
the Major was frecjuently insulted b\- tiie prnati's of the 
Legion." Such mercik'ss treatment of a d\ing foe, was 
eniinentU bellttiui'" the sa\aiie character of "^Farleton and 
his men. 

liritish historians repel, with indignant language, the 
charge of permitting the violation or abusc> of females to 
go unpunished ; yet Connnissary Steadman ri'lates a case 
hiiiiilv deroi^atorv of the ct)nduct of some of Tarleton's 
Legion. In the course of this maraud, several of the dra- 
goons broke into the iiouse of Sir John Colleton, in 
the neighborliood of Monk's Corner, and maltreatt'd and 
attempted \iolence ujion three ladies residing there — one, tlu' 
wife of a Charleston pliysician, a most delicate and b(,>auti- 
ful woman, was most barbarously treated; another lath' 
rt'ceived one or two sword wountls ; while an luunarried 
lady, a sister of a prominent American Major, was also 
shamefulh" misused. They all succeedt'd in making tiieir 
escape to Monks Corner, where they were protected ; and 
a carriage being provided, they were escorted to a house in 
that region. The guilty dragoons were apprehended, and 
brought to camp. whert\ by this time. Colonel Webster had 
arri\H'd and taken tlu' command. "Colonel Ferguson," 
savs Sti'adman. "was for putting the dragoons to instant 
death : but Coloni'l Webster did not conceiv(> that liis jiow- 
ers exltMided lo that of holding a geni>ral court-ma.tial.* 

Il nnisi lint l)c inferred lliat Ciiloiiel Wulister, who the next year kille<l ;il 
OiiiMuril. was iiulifTerciit lo such nfTences: for. we are assured, that to an officer under his 
< oniiiiaiid. who had so fir forKotteii liiniself as lo offer an insult to a lady, he hurled many 
a hitler iinprecation. and had him immediately turned out of the regiment. — Political 
Mtigiiziiie, 1781, 34a. 



The prisoners were, however, sent to head-qiuirters, and, I 
hclicvt\ were afterwards tried and whipped." Tliis decisive 
action on the part ot" Colonel Ferguson was liighly credit- 
able to his head and his heart. '"We honor," sa3s Irvinj^^, 
" the rou<jfh soldier, Ferguson, for the flat of ' instant di'ath,' 
with which he would have nHjuited the most infamous 
and dastardly outrage that brutalizes warfare." "^rarleton, 
possessing none of the finer feelings of human nature, 
failed to second ^^erguson's efVorts to bring the culprits 
to punishment; for, "afterwards, in England, he had the 
ertronter}' to boast, in the presence of a lady of respecta- 
bility, that he had killed more men, and ravished more 
women, than any man in America."* 

The long protracted siege of Charleston was now draw- 
ing to a close. In the latter part of April, Colonel Fer- 
guson marched down with a party, and captured a small 
redoubt at lladdrelTs Point, half a mile above Sullivan's 
Island ; and, on the seventh of May, he obtained permission 
to attack Fort jMt)ultrie, and while upon the march for that 
object, he received intelligence of the surrender of the Fort 
to Captain Hudson, who was relieved of the command 
by Colonel Ferguson. f And shortly thereafter. General 
Lincoln gave up the city he had so long and so valiantl}- 

♦Steadinani .Jwcr/iYin War, ii, 183: Irvine's Washington, iv. 52-53: Garden's Ancc- 
doti\t. Field's lirooklj'n edition, 18-5, ii, App'x viii: Mrs. Warren's Hist. \m. Revolution, 

ii, 197. 

\ Siege 0/ Charleston, i6j-66; I'arleton's Cain/'aigns, 50. 

t 1 




I il 




1780- May- July. 

Colonel l-'rri^iison soil to tlic D/'.a/n) f of A/jtr/f S/.v.— ( )ri^'<rf//:;//ii^'- the 
Loeal Mi/ilia. — Afirjor //(jnxrr'x lueoiint of the iip-eoiiiitrv iiihuhi- 
tiiiits^h/s 070/1 luut refiulation. — /■'eri^iisoii's seductiiu- promises to 
(he people. — The Tory, Dainil /■'iiiiii/!i_i;.--J-'e)i;iiso)!'s lu/nptotioii to 
his Mission — Mrs. JiUie Thomas lutv, iitiire. — Colonel 'f homos repels 
ti 'Tory ossoitit ot ( 'ediir .S'/>rini^': — /-eixiisoit oitv,inees to I'oir l-'orest. 
— Charaeter oj the lories — Stories of their pliimh-rini^s. — Colonels 
Clarke ami Jones of Ceort^ia — ///,• latter surprises a 'Tory eamp. — 
Dunlap an, I .Mills attoek .]/e Don'elTs eamp on \orth Pacolet.— 
Captain Hampton' s puisiiit and defeat of the Tories. 

On IIk' reduction of Charleston, Sir nenr\- Clinton 
was, for the ensuinj4" lew weeks, busily employed in issuing; 
proclamations and lbrmin;jf plans lor the conijiUMA- subjui^a- 
tion of the Carolinas and Georjuia. He had on the eitjjh- 
teenth of May, dispatched Lord Connvallis with a strouif 
force on the nordi-east side of the Santi-e to Camden ; while 
Coloui'l Fi\rguson, at the same time, with a hundred and 
fifty to two hundred men of the Pro\incial corps, marched 
from Nelson's Ferry via Colonel Thomson's, Beaver creek, 
and the Con^aree Store, crossin.^" the Saluda above the 
mouth of Jiroad river ; thence on to Little river and Ninety 
Six, where they arrived on the twenty-second of June. '^I'hey 
performed their marches in the cool of tlu- morniny;, and now 
and lluMi apiirehended prominent Whiles on the route. His 
orders were to tia\e a watch-care over the extended district 
of country from the Wateree to the Saluda, well niirh a 
hundred miles. Resuniin<^ his march he passed on to 
Ninety Six, whence, after a fortnight's rest, he advanced 
some sixteen miles, and selected a good location on LitUc 




river where he erected soiiu" lii'ld works, while most of 
his r"*rovincials pushetl on to the h'air I"^)rest iH'iL,non.* This 
ciuiip was at the phmtation of Colonel James Williams, 
in what is now Laurens County, near the Newberry line, 
where the Hritish i.ncl Tories loni;- maintained a post, a jiart 
of the time under Cieneral Cunningham, till the enemy 
evacuated Ninety Six the following year.f 

Sir Henry Clinton hail directed Major Hanger to repair 
with Colonel Ferguson to the interior settU-ments, and, 
jointly or separately, to organize, muster, and regulate all 
volunteer corps, and inspect the (piantity of grain and num- 
ber of cattle, etc., belonging to the inhabitants, and report 
to Lord Cornwallis, who would be left in command of the 
Southern Provinces.^ The powers of this warrant were 
very extensive to meet the exigencies of the case. It 
was ni'cdful that commissioners should lii' sent out prop- 
I'rh' authorized to receive the submission of the people, 
administer oaths of fealty, and exact pledges of faithtul 
Royal service. I': was needful, also, that the \oung men of 
the country should be thoroughly drilled and fitted for recmits 
for Cornwallis' diminished forces ; and it was equally neces- 
sary for that commander to know where the necessary sup- 
plies of grain and meat could be found. It will thus be 
seen how comprehensive was this mission and its purposes. 

Nor were these the only powers vested in these oHlcers. 
All Royal authority had, for several vears, been superseded 
by enactments and appointments of tiie newh created 
Stati", and these^ o: i.ecessity, mus, be ignored. So Colonel 

*T;irleton's Memoirs, 36, Ro, 87. 100: ONeall's llht. 0/ Xcwherry, 107. 

i Williams' place was ahuiit a mile wesi <if Little river, and bctwern that stream and 
Mnu I.iok crjvk, on the ol ! Island F rd road, follw d by General Onenc when lie 
retreated fri>Mi Ninety Six. in 17'ji. Ferguson's camp was near ilic intersection f a 
le.idmt; to I.anrens C H.. about si.\t( jn miles distant. MS. letters of General A C. 
C.arliiigton. July igih and 2Rth. 1880, on antbority ..f Colonel James W. Watts, a descendant 
of Colon. I Williamsand Major 'r. K. Vance and oibcrs. D. R Crawford of Martin's Depot, 
S. f:., states that thr e miles above the old Williams' |ilare, nn ibe W'';r side of T.itlle river, 
opposite the old Milton store, must have been ai\ em anipnient, as old ynn barrels and yuii 
)o. ks have been found there. 

J llaniLjer's I.ife iimi (^/i/tiioiis, ii. .(01-2. 






Ferguson and Major flangrr had superadded to Uieir mili- 
tary jiowers, authority to perform the marriage service. 
Whether they had occasions to otliciate, we are not 
informed. However this may have been, tlie Major 
evidcntl\- formeil no liigh estimate of the beautii-s of the 
up-country region. '• In the back parts of CaroHua," says 
Major Hanger, "you may search after an angel with as 
much chance of linding oni> as a parson : there is no such 
thing — 1 mean, when I was there. What thev are now. I 
know not. It is not impossi])le, but they may have become 
more religious, moral, and virtuous, since the great allec- 
tion thev liave imbibed for the French. In mv time, you 
might travel sixty or seventy' miles, and not see a church, 
or even a schism shop — meeting-house. I have often 
called at a dog-house in the Avoods, inhabited !'>v eight or 
ten persons, merely from curiositv. I have asked the 
master of tlie house: ' Pra\', u\y frit-nd. of what religion 
are you?' 'Of what religion, sir?' 'Yes, my friend, of 
what religion are 3'ou — or, to what sect do you belong?' 
'Oh! now I understand you; why, for tlu- nuitter of that, 
religion docs not trouble its much in these parts' 

"This distinguished race of men," continues Hanger, 
"are more savage than the Indians, and possess evcrx one 
of their \ices, but not one of tlu'ir virtues. I have known 
one of these fellows travel two hundred miles through the 
woods, never keeping anv road or path, guided by the sun 
by day, and the stars by night, to kill a particular person 
belonging to the opposite party. He would shoot him 
before his own door, and ride away to boast of what he had 
done on his return. I speak only of back-woodsmen, not 
of the inliabitants in general of South Carolina ; lor, in all 
America, there are not better educated or better bred men 
than the planters. Indeed, Charleston is celebrated for the 
splendor, luxury, and education of its inhabitants : I speak 
only of that heathen race known by the name of Crachers."" * 

Such were Major Hanger's representations of the back- 

♦ HaiijL'er's I. iff iinii O/'i'm'iois, ii, 403-5. 


|1 ' 

1'^ f 

LY/) /7'S III: ROES. 


woods pi'opli" ol' Carolina in liis n-iordi-d ri-niinisiciu'cs ol' 
twi-nlv-ont- \car.s lluTcaricr. I lis slurs and insinuations on 


llu' virtues and morals of tin- •• an^i'ls," probably ri-li-rri 
to llir ll'niaic's of tiu' lountry. may well l)f taken with 
many grains of allowanci'. (.■omiiin', as tlu-y do, from the 
intimali' iVicnd and associate of the protli^ate I'rinee Kt'j^ent 
of J'viiuliind, and Colonel Tarlelon. both in turn the keeper 

)!' the beautilul, but fallen •' I'erdila 

uicl, moreover, nis 

i\\ n rt'|Mitation m 

Ameriea was that of a sensualist. 'J'he 



Uies ai'e. lliat lie met w itli ui 


eservecl \\ 



rebuki's iVom the ladies of the u|i-eounlry of Carolina, and 
did not Ioul; remain there to thrust his msults upon a virtu- 
ous peojile. As il" antiiipatini; his own rich di-si-rvings, he 
^i\t's, in his "Lire," and *'Ad\ici' to ye Lovi'ly Cyprians," 
a portrait of himst'll". dresst'd in his reginu'Utals, and sus- 
pendi'd from a gibbet, ^'el. in the end, he •• robbed the 
haniiinan ol' his lees."" and die gallows ol" its \ielim. 

In a letter Iroin 

)rd Cornwallis to Sir IIenr\' Clint 


|une thirtieth, i ySo, lu' mentioned having dispersed I^ieu- 
t('nant-CoIoni'l Halioiu's (U'taehmenl from the l<^)rks of the 
Santee, by the Congarei'S, to Xiin-ty Si.\, whih" he and 
Lieutenant-Colonel Imies. and Major Ciraham. are gixing 
orders for the militia of those dislriels ; ami then adds, eon- 

linnatoiA' o 

f Ml 



(.•rs represt'utation of the mixiH 


character of Colonel l^erguson's services: "• I haw ordered 
Major l'\'rg"uson," says his Lordshi]), "to visit evt'r\- district 
in the I'roxince as fast as ihev iTct the militia established, to 



s ol eacn, 


1 t 

o see 


mv onk-rs are carru'i 

into execution. I ajipreheml that his commission of Majoi- 
Commandant of a regiment of militia, can onK take place; 

iss snouki he ca 

1 b 


out lor 

in cas(.> a part of the second-cl; 
service, the home duly being mort' that of a Justice of Pi'ace 
lan of a soldier."" * 


Major Hanger did not remam many weeks with Colonel 
Ferguson in the Little river region; for, early in August, 

* Li/e aiiii Cur, of J^prd ConiwalWs, i, 4S6. 




ho ontcrorl Tarloton's Lofjion as Major, tn which ho had 
ri'ioiilly been ap|)(>iiUi'(l. and iiailiiipalrd in llic I'Jallli- ol" 
Caindfii, and in thi- all'air al C'iiailoiic. In iiis lockli'ss 
niannor of oxprossion. tlic Major roniarks. tiial had lio 
remaiju'd witii l'\'r;4iis()n. lu- ini^lit lia\r sliarcd iho .sanic 
fall- as hi' did al Kind's .Nh)untain ; and. "it', indoi'd, as 
Maiioini't is said to iia\o done, I could have laki-n my lli,i;ht 
to Paradise on a jackass, thai woidd ha\e heen a pUasant 
ride; hut Fate ik-stined me lor oilier ihinns." 

"We come not," (k'chired Ferguson, "to make war on 
women and chikh'en, but to reht'\ e their chstresscs." This 
sounded "grateful and pleasant to the ears of the people — a 
ku-ife majority of whom, under the leatU'rship of the Cun- 
ninghams, Fletchall, Roliinson, and IVaris, wi-re at heart 
Loyalists, and honored tlu' Kinif anil Parlianu-nt. 'i'o 
Colonel Ferjfuson's standard, whik' encamped at I>ittle 
river, the Tories of the country llocki'd in large nundx-rs. 
Companies and regiments were organized, and many olli- 
cers commissioned for the Royal service. David Fanning, 
who had long resided in Orange ami Chatham Counties, in 
the North Province, subsequi'ntly so notorious as a "^Fory 
leader for his dare-devil adventures and bloody work gener- 
ally, was among those who repaired to Ferguson's encamp- 
ment ; and evidenlh, on his personal reconnnendation and 
induence, secured, in Julv, from Colonel I'erguson, com- 
missions, from ICnsign to Captain, for no less than sixty-two 
persons in the live Counties of Anson. Chatham. Cumber- 
land, Orange, and Randolph, in North Carolina, whosi' 
names and residence lu' ri'cords in his published A'arnf/irc. 
Fanning and Captain. Richard Pearis had receivi-d General 
Williamson's submission, and granted proti-ction to him 
and his followers, and three days thereafter to Coloni'i 
Pickens. Colonel Robert Cunningham had taken the com- 
mand in the Ninet\- Six region, and formed a camp ot 
Loyalists ; * and British authoritv was fully recognized in 
all the up-country of South Carolina. 

*V:inTn\.%'s Nnrrath'c. 12, 11, 19-21, 



The younger men wiTi' tlioroiirrlily flrillcd by Colonel 
Formison aiul his siihordinati's in inililar\ lactiis. and littt-d 
lor ailivf si'i\ ill". Xo one (.ould luive Ivcn bfttcr (jualilk'd 
tor tliis husiiu'ss ihan llii" distiniLjuislu'd partisan whom Sir 
Ili'ni'v Clinton luul scivili'd Ibr tlu' purposi*. lie sei-nu'd 
ahnost a born i-onunancUr. His hir^c expt'rience in war, 
and partiality lor n)ilitary thscipline, superadded to his 
personal maL,nu'tisin o\t'r othi-rs. eminently fitted liim for 
nnlimiti'd inllnenci' o\er his men. and the comnKjn people 
wiliiin his n'^ion. lie was not favored, however, with a 
lommandiiiL; personal prt'sence. lie was of middle stature, 
slender make, j^ossessin^r a serious countenance ; yet it was 
his peculiar characteristic to i^ain the allections of the men 
under his command. lie would sit down foi" hours, and 
converse with the country people on the state of public 
aOairs, and point out to them, from his view, the ruinous 
effects of the disloyalty of the rint^-leaders of the rebellion 
— erroneously supposing that it was the leaders only who 
jifave impulse to the popular up-risint( throu<^hout the Colo- 
nies. Ik- was as indefati^'ible in training them to his way 
of thinking, as lie was in instructing them in military exer- 
cises. This condescension on his part was regarded as 
wonderful in a King's ollicer, and \ery naturally went far 
to secure the respect and obedience of all who came within 
the sphere of his almost magic inllucnce.* 

Parties were sent out to .scour the north-western portion 
of South Carolina, and apprehend all the Rebel leaders 
who could be found. AnK>ng those who had taken protec- 
tion, and were yet hurried ofl' as prisoners to Ninety Six, 
was Colonel John Thomas. Sr.. of die Fair Forest setUe- 
nient, then cpiite advanced in life. ITis devoted wife rode 
nearly sixty miles to visit him, and convey to him such com- 
forts as she had it in lu-r power to bestow. While thiM-e, 
Mrs. Thomas overheard a conversation between some T()ry 
women, of which her quick ear caught these ominous 

* Political Ma i^,i : i II I- , M;irili. 17S1, 125, 



K/Axrs A/orxy.i/.Y 

words : "''l^lu- Tvoyalists iiitcMul. to-morrow iiiijlit. to siirprisi' 
'.lu- Rrln-ls ill Cedar S|>riii<^."" 'I'liis iiilclli^i'iKr was cnoiii^h 
to llirill a mollu'i-'s heart, lor Cedar Spriiii;' was hut a lew 
miles hevond her I'^iir h'oiesl home, and willi tlie W liijn" 
force wi're man\- ol lier Irieiids and nei^hhors, and sonu' 
i'\ en of lu-r own tliihhi'ii. No time was to he lost — sht' 
iiitiiitiveh' resoKcd to do her hesi lo apprise ihem ol tiie 
(.•nt'iny's intention helore tlie mechlatetl hlow eouhl hi' 
struck. Slie started early tlie next morning;-, and readied 
Cedar .Spring' liiat i'\'eninn' in lime to ,i;"i\e them winning; 
of tlie impi'udini^ danger, w len she quietly repaired to her 
home, conscious ol' having ilone her duty lo her i'oimtr\', as 
Well as perlormed an act ol the nohlest humanitw* 

This was on the Uvf^Ifth day of July, f Colonel John 
Thomas, Jr., the sun (jf our heroine, had succei'di'd his 
fathi-r in command of the Fair Forest ri'i^iment, and headi'd 
the small band, some sixty in lunniH'r, now eiicamptd at 
the Cellar .Spring-. [; Joseph Alcjunkin was one of llu> 
party. It sei-ms to havi- been u camp ibrmed lor collecting;- 
the regiment, and drilling" them, |')reparalor\- 'o joining' 
Sumter. (3n receivinj^ the timely intelligence of tlu' 
inti^nded IJritish attack. Colonel Thomas and nuii. alli'r 
a brief consultation, redred a small distance in tiu' lear ol" 
their camp liri's, and awaited tlu- imiieiidini; onset. The 
eneniN', one hundred and lifty stronif, rushed u]ion the 
camp, where they expected to liiul the luckless l^ebels |iio- 

*Iii rrccliliriH Mrs. j:ciio TliDiniis with this Ucrnir. iicl, wc arc aw.irc that Mills, in liis 
St,)t:.ti-s o/ South C.iyoliiiii. lias acroidcd it to Mrs. M.nry Oill.inl ; but llie iinifMirii u-Mi 
niony Ol ilip 'rii"iiias faiiiily, iniluiliim Major M( Itiiikin, wlin marricil a iliiiinlilrr of Col- 
(inc'l TlKitnas. (jiv. s tlic narrativi: as w<; have suhstantially r latcd it. 'riie oi i asioii of her 
vivil lo Niiirly Six, anil rcsidiiii; in ilie nci^hhnrhooil r)f Cedar SpriiiK. Ko far lo sustain this 
virw of the matter. Mrs. Dillard, on the other hand, lived fnlly thirty miles southeast ■!( 
Cellar Sjirini;, and sontli of tin- F.norec river, in Lauren's Distrii t - and on tlo- route 'I'arU 
ton pursued when on his way to attark Sumter at niarkstork's on I'yKcr ; and I'.irleton 
relates, "a woman on horschai k had viewrd the line of inarch from a wood, .nid, l>y a 
ni.-.irer road, had civen inlelliuenc c ' lo Sunitir. woman was Mrs. I>illard. 

•|-('ompare McCall's (ieorgin. ii. iio ; Moore's l^i'itty, ii, j^ji : and .Allaire's Piitry, July 
14th and i.sll>. 

} Odar Sprin,i; deii\i il its n,iiiic from a l.-ir^e tree, tl .11 lorinirl) orn.inieiiii il the 
hanks of this tim- spring, whic h is ahout fifty feet in tin iinifereiiee It has three prinripal 
fountains or snnries of supplv. wlii' li forrc the water from tlo- howels of il.r earth forming 
II Ijeaulifnl hasin three feel tlcep. 'I'll'; \\ater is imjirej^n.itt-d with a s.iiall portion of lime. 



founclly riiw r;i|")|X'(l in ,sluinl)cr ; but, oi^ the lontrarw llu-y 
\V(.Ti> \vi(U' a\vak(.\ and astonislunl the assailaiils with a 
v()lk'\' of rilK' balls. .Si'wral wtTt- slain, ami the survixors 
i-ii'anipcri'il oil' badly deinoralizcd. It was a shorl, (|iiii.k, 
and dcfisixc allair. Amoni;' llu' slain was a 'i'oiy named 
|()hn While, well known Id Major Mejunkii and who, 
in tlu' early pari ot ihe war, had deelimd bearing arms 
aj^ainsl ihe Indians, on ihe irumped-up plea ol" lu'lni;' a non- 
coinbatanl.* Il was IbrlunaU- tor Thomas" |iari\, thai 
this was a nii;ht attack, as the eni-my had no ()p|)orlunilv 
of discovering' iheii decided sn|-)eriority ; and donbtless 
ri'tired with llu- beiit't" that the Americans nnist Iuin ■ num- 
bered sevi'ral lumdri'd. "I'his eml)od\ in^ ot' the tViiMicb' of 
liberlN' in the l^'air h'orest settlement. jirobabK- hastened the 
movenu'nt ol" I^'er^uson to that quarti-r. 

When Colonel [''erifuson K'tt his (.amii on I^itde rixcr, 
he crossed the ,'Onoree at Kelly's Ford, and encampetl in ihc 
Fork, at the plantation of Colonel Jami-s I^yles, who was 
lIuMi in service farther east, with Sumler. John Robison 
and others ot this re^'ion were |ihiiulered b\ l'\'ri;"uson\s 
men. The des|ierate, the idle, the \ indicti\t.', who souLjht 
])lunder or re\eni;'e, as well as the \(>utht'ul Loxalists, whost- 
zeal or amliition prompted them to takt- up ai"ms, all tound 
a warm rece]ition at tlu' Hritish camj) ; and their pro^.x-ss 
ihroui^h the countr\- was "• marki'd with blood, and K^l W^ 
wy with contlan'ration." Ir\ini;' graphically describes the 
character ot' these Toin- reciuits : *• Feri^uson," says Irving', 
" had a loyal hatred ot" W'hij^s, and to his staiulard flocked 
many i^ancorous Tories, beside outlaws and desperadoes, so 
that with all liis conciliating" inliMitions. his proi^ress throuifh 
the I'ounlry was attended b\- man\- cvxasperatini; exci'sses." 

To (.otMce the \\'hiL;s to submission, a»ul embod\- the 
Tories, and ti-ain them t'or war, Ihm'^'usou kejit moxii.g 
about the country, and sending- out his detachments in ex-ery 

'■Major Mrjiinkin's MS. Slalcinrnt. .unoiiK lliu S.iye piipcrs; Mr. Sayc\ Mrinnir i\\ 
Mcjiinkiii, alvo JihIkl- O'Ncall's. ill tlic Mitgnoliii Magazine lor J.m,, iS,(j; ///.>/. I'res'yte- 
tiiin III. of So. Caritiiiia, 5J4. 




direction. In the prosecution ofthesi' desiirns, ho miirched 
into Union District, ciinpin<4 on tlie south side of 'r\^er 
ri\er, about iiaU" a n'ile below Hhickstock's Ford, where 
the cripple spy, Joseph Kerr, made such observations as he 
could, anil ri'turned with tlie inteUiL'-'Uce to Colonel Mc- 
Dowell, that about lil'lecn hunch-cd of the enein\- were 
pent'tratiui;' the country ;* and thence Feriruson passed into 
the settlement then called "The (^j^iaker iM'.muIow.'" but 
since known as the Meadow Woods. On Su^'ar creek, 
a southern tributar\- of" I"'air l^'orest creek. + resided a 
number ol" (klermined Whigs named Blasin<^anu', oiu' of 
whom was arrested. 'I'hence Feri^uson moved up into 
the Fair r"ort"-L settlement, on the main cri-ek ot' that 
name, campin;^ at dilVerent times at McClendon's old Held ; 
then between \\here J. Mcllwaine and f. II. Kelso since 
lived ; thence to where Cjist resided a few years since, and 
thence to Cunninirham's. lie camped a while at l^'air Forist 
Shoal, in I>randon"s .St'itlrineut : and subsequently for three 
wei'ks on a hill, on tlu' present plantation of the lion. John 
WinsmiUi, eleven miles south of Cedar SpriiiL;,", and two 
south of Glenn's Sprin<i,s. During' this pi'riod of sev'eial 
weeks, the Tories scon,red all that region of country dail\ . 
plundering the people of their cattle, horses, beds, wearing 
apparel, bee-gums, and \egetables of all kinds — e\en wrest- 
ing tlu- rings from the lingers of the females. Major Dun- 
lap ami Lieutenant Taylor, with lort\ or lifty soldiers, calk-il 
at a Mrs. Thomson's, and taking down the family IJible 
from its .shelf, ri-ad in it, and I'vpressed great surjirise that 
persons having such a book, teaching them to honor the 
King and obey magistrates, should n-bt'l against ihi-ir King 
and country ; but amid these expressions of holy horror. 

♦Kerr's MS. pcrsniKil slatununt. cninmiinii atrd l)y rnlnii. I J. U. Wliorln ; Uiiiilir's 
Sketches of Western Xorth Ciroliiiit, 120-21. 

f " What a fair forest x'^ this!" exciaimcd ilic fl^^l sctilirs. The Maine attacluil itself 
\n the plac i\ anil then to the hc.hl am lovely inniintain stream, wlui h sweeps on till its 
waters mingle with those of liroad rive ■.— Kcv. J imes H. Saye's .Menterr of M,>fny fiise/'i, 
yr !iinl;iii. aiul Sketches uf the l\-7;i/:itwn,t>y Histery ef South (aro/iiia. .in interest »>,' 
ucwspuper aeries piibliblicd over thirty years ago. 



these oIlkcTs sufl'ered their troops to engage in ransacking 
and ]-)kni(lerin<jf hetbre tluir very eyes. 

From what we have seen, it is not wf)n(U'rrul that the 
Tories were soon as heartily despised liy the Ihitisli otlicers 
as l")y their own counlrynien, the Whigs. lUit Ferguson 
was not tlie man to I)i' diverted from his jMirpose b^' an}' 
aets of theirs of treaehc>ry and inininiaiiity. 'V\\v crown 
had iionors anil rewards to lii'stow, and his v\v ri'sled upon 
them. He knew that "the del'endi'r of the faith" generallv 
gave much more casli and more honors, for a single yi-ar of 
devoted service in military enterprises, than for a lifi'-time 
spent in such pursuits as exalt and ennolile human natmc. 

The horses of Ferguson's men wen' turiud loost' in to .iiiy 
lields of grain that might he most conwnient. I'^oraging 
parties brought in cattle to cam]) for slaught(.>r, or wantonh- 
shot them down in the woods and left them. .\s many 
Whigs as could Iv fnmd were apprehencK'il, not <'vi'n 
excepting those who iiad i-»rc\'iously taken protection. A 
fe\, had been pn)m|)UHl to take ])rotection, rather than for- 
sakt> their families, trusting therein' to Urilish honor to 
secure them from molestation ; but they were soon hurried 
olV to Ninety Si ', and incarcerated in a loathsome |irison, 
when' tliey well nigh perished for watit of sustenance. Ihit 
niost of those, at this time, capabU- of bi'aring arms, had 
ri'tired to North Carolina, or were ser\ing in Sumter's 
arm\' : so that Ferguson had an excellent op|>ortnnity to 
drill his ni'w n,'cruits, an*, sujiport his men by |iillaging the 
peopie. Occasionally small parties of Whigs would \enture 
into the neighborhood — about often enough to ;ilTord the 
I'nemy good exercise in pursuing them w hile within striking 

vSuch an in\asion as Ferguson's, with its ti'rrors and 
aggravations, and the up-rising of the Tories in llu" wi'stciii 
part of Xorth Carolina, under the Moores. and l>ryan. soon 
led to blows, with all the sutVerings atti'udanl on war and 

*Saye's MSS., aiu. Meiiioh '•/ Mi Jinikhi. 

!l III! Ill 


A'/¥G'S A/OUiYV'/l/JV 



harhai itu's im 

lod out to the Americans at 

Hiilorcrs (U'l't-at. ,sai"fastitall\- di'iioininatt'd liy tlu' Wliij^s as 
Tdrliioii' $ i/iK/r/crSy \v\\ naturally Il'IuU'cI to t'lnbilter 
tin- aniniositit'S ot" iIk' people. Tiie Moores were signally 
(lelea'ed, in June, at Ranisour's Mill, and Urxan and his 
tollowers sul)se(|uently drivi'n iVoni the country. 

A noted partisan ot' (ieornia. Colonel JCIijah Clarkt-. now 
eonies u|ion tlu- sei'ue. A nali\c' ol' Virginia, he earl\' siitled 
on the Paeolet, whence he ]-)ushed into Wilkes County. 
Georgia, where tin- Revolutionary out-break found liiin 
lie was one ot" those sturd}' patriots, well lilted lor a 
leader ot' the pi'ojile — oni' who woulil scorn to take protec- 
tion, or \ield one iota to arbitrary power. U'hen British 
detaclunents wen- sent into \arious parts oi Georgia, it 
became unsafe lor such unllinching Whigs as Clarke longer 
to remain there. IK' and his associates resoh'cd to scatter 
for a I'l'W days, \isit their families onci' mori>, and then rt'tirt' 
into .South Carolina, wlu-re they hoped to llnd otlu-r heroic 
sjiirits ready to co-o]ierati' with them in making a stand 
against the connnon enemv. .Some small parties had aln-adv 
left ( leorgia, and passing along (he western frontiers of 
South Carolina, had sought tlu' cam]-) of Colont'l CharU>s 
McDoWi'll, who was then embodying a forct' on the south- 
western borders of tlu' North Province. 

On tlu' eleventh of July, one hunchx'd anil forty well- 
mounted and w cll-iMnu'd men met at the appointed placi' of 
rendezvous: and, aftv'r crossing the Saxannah at a private 
ford in lln' night, llu'\' learni'd that the British and Loyalists 
wert' in force on their front. Clarke's men concluded that 
it would be hazardous to ccjntinue their retreat on that routt' 
ith their present numbers. As ihev weri- Nolunteers, and 


not subject to coi'i 

I ion. Colonel Clarke was induced to retur 


to Georgia, sull'er liis men to disperse for a while, and await 
a nion- favorable opjiorlunily to ri'Ui'w the enterprise. '^Fhe 
majority of the party returned. 

Colonel John Junes, of I3urke County, however, objected 




to a ri'trotrriuU' inoxoiiu'iil, and pi"()|)()si'il lo It-ad tliosi' who 
woiikl _i;'o willi him, i1ii"()iil;1i ihr woods to dir liordcrs ol 
North Carohiia. and join thi- Anu>ri(.-an loixc in thai (|nailrr. 
Thirty-live humi uniti-il witii liini, chdosinn' liim tor thfir 
loadi'r, and Joiin l^'ri'i'inan loi- srcond in loiinnand, |>ii'di;"- 
iny' inijilicit ohi'dii'iu'i- to tiirir orders. JnMijamin Law riMu-e, 

a snpi'rior woodsman, and wh'I! ar- 

of South Carolina, 

(luamti'd ni 

th tl 

u' countr\ , now jonu'd llir com]KUi\ , a 



(KM\'d liu m vahiahle servioi' as tiieir miidi' 



through a disalltnti'd region, tiioy ach'oitly |>almt'(l ihom- 
schcs oil" as a Lo^'aHst party, eni^aged in the Iving's ser- 


md. nnd(>r this liiiise. the\- wt>ri' in se\t'ral instanci' 

rurnislied with pilots, and tliri'Cted (Mi tluMr route. 

When the\- had passed the head-wati-rs ol" the Saluda, 
in the iiorth-eastcMTi part of die presi'iil county ol' (in-eii- 

ville, one ol 

hese uuuk'S mIoinuH 

1 i: 



a parly o 


I'lHMs Had 

the I 

ireii'ding ni^hl, allacked some Lo\ahsls 

a short distance in front, and deleati'd them — douJHless the 
IJritish repulse at Cedar Spring, as a!r(.>ad\' I'l'laU-d, and 
which occurrei'. some twi>ntv-livi" or ihirt}' miU's awa\ . [oiu-s 

I'xpri'ssed a wish 

to h 

I' conducU'd 

to tl 

le camp ol tiiose un- 

tortiinate Lo\aiisl liieiids, that he miiihl aid tluMii in lakinu" 

rex-eiiiie on those who 


(1 the blood ot" the 

jn!"" s 

fail hful subjects. Alxuit eleven o'clock on ihal night, |ul\' 
thirteenth. Jones and his little party were conducted to the 
Loyalist camp, where sonu' IbrtN' men were collected lo 
pursue till- Americans who had n-treated lo llu> North. 
Choosing twenly-two of his Ibllowers, and leaving the bag- 
gage and horses in c-harge of tin- others. Colonel fones 
resolvtnl lo surprise the Tory camjK A|>pi-oaching llu' 
eiu'my with guns, swords, and lu'll-pistols, the\' tbund them 
in a state of s<>ir-seciirity, and generally aslei'p. '.'losing 
(juickly around them, they tired upon the camp, killing 
one and wounding three, when ihirtv-lwo, includiii" the 


ed, calli'd lor ijuarti-r, and surrendered. Destroxing 
the useless guns, aiul solocting the best horses, the Loval- 





ists were paroled as prisoners of war ; when tlie pilot, who 
did not disco\t'r llu' real character of the men he was 
conducting until loo late to have even attempted to jire- 
vent the consecpu-nces. was now required to guide the 
Americans to ICarK's Ford on North Pacolet river, where a 
junction was formed the tu'xt day with Colonel McDowell's 
forces. As McDowell had that day made a tedious march 
with his thr(>e hundred mi>n. they, too. were in a fatigued 

Within striking distance of McDowell's camping ground, 
soini' Iwentv miles in a nearly soutlu-rn direction, was Prince's 
Fort, originalK a place of neighborhood resort in time of 
danger from the Indians, in the early settlement of the 
countrv. some twent}- }'ears before. This fort, now occu- 
pied by a British and Tory force, under Colonel Innes, was 
located upon a connnanding height of land, near the head 
of one of the liranclu's of the North Fork of TALjer, se\ I'n 
miles n(>rth of west from the present village of Spartanburg. 
Innes, unapprised of McDowell's approach, detached Major 
Dunlap. with sevt'uty dragoons, accompanied by Colonel 
Ambrose Mills, with a part}' of Loyalists, in pursuit of 
Jones, of whose audacious operations he had just received 

McDowell's camp was on rising ground on the eastern 
side of tiie North Pacolet, in the present count}' of Polk, 
North Carolina, near the South Carolina line, and about 
twenty miles south-west of Rutherfordton : and Dunlap 
reiiching the vicinity on the (^pp(xsite side of the stream dur- 
ing the night, and supposing that Jones' party only was en- 
camped there, commenced crossing the river, which was 
narrow at that point, when an American sentinel fled to camp 
and gave the first notice of the enemy's presence.* Dunlap, 
with his Dragoons and To' -s. dashed instantlv. with drawn 
swords, among McDowell's men, while but few of them 

* McCall, in bis ffhl. of Georgia, asserts that the ■iciuiiiel fireil '.fis utin, but James 
■I'hnMipson, one of Joseph MiDowell's party, states as in the ti-xt, whii-h seems to be cor- 
rubiirated by the complaint of Col. Hampton, and the sencral surprise of the camp. 






were yet roused out of sleep. The Georgians being nearest 
to the forr!, were the finst attacked, losing two killed and six 
wounded ; among the latter was Colonel Jones, who received 
eight cuts on his head rrt)m the enemy's sabres. Freeman, 
with the remainder, fell back about a hundred 3ards, where 
he joined Major Singleton, who was forming his men behind 
a fence; while Colonels McDowell and Hampton soon 
formed the main body on Singleton's right. Being thus 
rallied, the Americans were ordered to advance, when Dun- 
lap discovering his mistake as to their numbers, quickly re- 
treated across the river, which was fordable in many places, 
and retired without much loss ; its extent, however, was un- 
known, be\ ond a single wounded man who was left upon 
the ground. 

Besides the loss sustained by the Georgians, six of Mc- 
Dowell's men were killed, and twenty-four wounded. 
Among the killed were Noah Iliimpton, a son of Colonel 
Hampton, with a comrade named Andrew Dunn Young 
Hampton, when roused from his slumbers, was asked his 
name ; he simply replied " Hampton," one of a numerous 
family and connection of Whigs, too well known, and too 
active in opposition to British rule, to meet with the least 
forbearance at the hands of enraged Tories ; and though he 
begged for his life, they cursed him for a Rebel, and ran him 
through with a bayonet. Young Dunn also suffered the 
same cruel treatment. Colonel Hampton felt hard towards 
Colonel McDowell, his superior otllcer, as he wished to 
have placed videttcs beyond the ford, which McDowell 
opposed, believing it entirely unnecessary. Had this been 
done, due notice would in all probability have bc^n given, 
and most of the loss and saflerin<r have been averted.* 

* McCall's Hist, of Georgia, ii. 308-ic: S.iye's MSS. ; MS. pension statements of Gen- Thumas Kennedy, of Kentucky, Rooert Henderson, and Robert McDowell ; Moore's 
/'/itr(' ()/■//«' A'<'7v'/«i'/o«, ii, 351, gives the date of the I acolet fight as occnrring "in the 
night of July fifteenth," and this on the authority of Govennr Rutledge, who was then at 
Charlotte. Judging from Allaire's Diary it must have been the night before. The par- 
ticulars of the killing uf young H;iinpton and Dunn are derived from the MS. communi- 
cations of Adam, Jonaihau, and James J. Hampton, grandsons of Colonel Hampton, 

1 ^^Bi 

' \ '■ 







A'/.VC;\S M0L'X7'.l/N 

Till' ivason. pivsumablx , uliy Colonel McDowell was 
over-coniick'iu of security was. that he liad. the day before, 
detaclu'd his brother. Major Joseph McDowi'il, with a parl\- 
to <ro on a scout, and ascertain, it' possible, where tlu* Tories 
lay ; but taking a wrong din-ction. he had consi'quentlv 
made no discovery.* Not returning. Colonel McDowell 
very naturally concluded that liiere was no portion ot" the 
enemy ver)- near, and that he and his weary men could, 
with reason. d)K' assurance of safety, take some needed 
rejjose. It was that very night, while Major McDowell 
was blundering on the wrong route, that Dunlap was able 
to advance undiscovered, and make his sudden attack. 

Before sunrise the ensuing morning, liftytwo of the 
most active men. including Freeman and fourti-en of his 
l)arty. mounted upon the best horses in the camp, were 
ordered to pursue the retreating foe. under tlu' command 
of Captain Edward Hampton. After a rapiil pursuit of two 
hours, they overtook the enemy, fifteen miles awav : and 
making a sudden an<l unexpected attack, completely routed 
them, killing eight of them at the lirst Ih-e. Unable to ralh 
his demoralized men, who had been taken unawares. Dun- 
lap made a precijiitate, helter-skelter retreat towards Fort 
Prince, during which several of his soldiers were killed and 
woundi'd. The pursuit was continued within three hundred 
yards of the British tort, in which three hundred men were 
securelv posted. At two o'clock in the afternoon, Hamp- 
ton and his men retinmed to McDowell's camp, with thirty- 
five good horses, dragoon equipage, and a considerable 
portion of the enemy's baggage, as the trophies of \ictory, 
and without the loss of a single man. It was a bold and 
successful adventure, worthy of the heroic leader and his 
intrepid followers. 

It is not a little remarkable, that three successive night 
fiffhts should have occurred within a few miles of each 

* Statement of Captain Janie-. ThiiTnpsnn. cf Madison t^ounty, Gcurgia, unu of Major 
McDowelTs party, preserved anions the Sayc MSS. 






otluT, ami tlu> two latter as military sec|uences of the former. 
First, the Tory attack on Colonel Thomas, at Cellar Spring, 
on the evening of the thirteenth of July ; then Colonel Jones' 
surprise of the remnant ot" this Loyalist party, on the night 
of llie tburteenth : antl fnially, the attack of Dunlap and 
Mills, in retaliation, on Colonel .McDowell's camp, at 
Earle'vS Ford of North Facijlet, on the night of the lifteenth. 
And in all three of these atfairs, the Tories got the worst 
of it. 

i \ 

McCaU's Georgia, ii, 312-13; and MS. pensimi statement of Jesse Nevillt;, one of 
Hampton's parly. It may not lie inappr(i|iriaie, in this connection, to ailil a few words 
relative to the liero of lliis conrageiuis exploit. Captain Hampton was a brother of I'olonels 
Waile. Richard, and Henry ll.inipton. of Snmter's army. He was a very active partisan, 
and reputed one of the hest horsemen of his lime. In May. 1775. with his hrotlier, I'reston 
Hainjiton, he was delegated hy ihe people of the frontiers <if South Carolina to visit the 
Cherokecs. and see if liy a siiitahle "talk," they could not he made to comprehend the 
causes of the growing dilTirences hetween the Colonies and the mother country. They 
met with a rude reception. Cameron and Ihe British emissaries instigating the Indians to 
oppose their views; and Cameron made them prisoners, giving their hirses, a gun, a case 
of pistols and holsters, to the Indians. Hy some means, they escaped with their lives. 

The following year. 1776. while Edward Hampton was, with his wife, on a visit to her 
father, liaylis Earle. on North Pacolet, the Cherokecs made an incursion into the valleys 
of Tyger, massai ring I'reston Haini)ton. his aged parents, and a young grandchild of 
theirs. Edward Hamplon served on Williamson's expedilion again»t the C'herokees. in the 
summer and autumn of that year ; and though only a Lieutenant, he had the command of 
his ( iinipany. and ihstingtiished himself in a battle with the enemv, receiving the special 
thanks of his General for his bravery ;iml gnr d conduct on the occasion. 

After the destruction of the Hampton family, on the Middle Fork of Tyger. where he 
resided, he seems to have made his home for a season on a plantation he possessed at 
Karle's Ford, where his father-in-law. Mr. Earle, resided. That he was the Captain 
ll.unpton who led the dashing foray against Dunlap on his retreat to Prince's Fort, is par- 
tially corroborated by Dr. Howe, in his History 0/ the Preslyterinn Church in South 
Carolina, p, 542, though erroneous as to the place of the occurrence; but Jesse Neville's 
pension statement renders the matter conclusive, supplying the first name of his Captain, 
which McCal! fails to give in his details of that affair. 

Captain Hampton was killed tlie ensuing October, at or near Fair Forest creek, in the 
bosom of his family, by P.ill's notoiioiis "Dloody S-oiit," He was in the 
prime of life, and in his death his country lost a bold cavalier. He was the idol of his 
family and friends. His ilescendants in Georgia. Mississippi, and Texas, are among the 
worthiest of people. I'aylis F.arle became one of the early judges of Spartanburg District, 
and was living in 1826. in his eighty-ninth year — MS. statement of Colonel John Carter, 
Watauga, May 30th. 1775: MS. letter of Colonel Elijah Clarke to General Sumter, October 
.■9th. 1780; Governor Perry's sketch of the Haiiif>ton I'amily, in the Afagnolia Magazine, 
June, 1843, with a continualion, which appeared in the Smith Carolina papers, in 1843, 
written by Colonel Wade Hampton, Sr., father of the present Senator Hampton, of that 









t780— July August. 

McDowt'll scuds for the 07'ti-Mi>uittaiit Men. — Clarkf joins /liiii, and 
pushes on to Stinifrr's Camp. — Capture and Escape of Captain 
Patrick Moore. — Moore's Plunderers.— Story of Jane Mcfunkin 
and Pill IlaynesiLiorth. — .Shclliy and tlie Mountaineers arrii'c at 
McDouuirs Canip.— Capture of Tliicketty J-'ort. — Expedition to 
Brown's Creek and luiir l-'orest. — Eiii/it at the Peach Orchard, near 
Cedar Sprint^; and Wojford's Iron Works, ami its incidents. — 
.Saye's Account of the .Iction. — British Report. — Contradictory 
Statements concerning the Conjiict. 

WIk'H ColoiK'l McDowell bucanir lonvinci'cl that Fer- 
guson's movement to the north-western portion of South 
Carolina, ihrt-atc^ned tlie imasion of tlie North Province 
also, he not only promptly raised what force he could from 
the sparsely pojiulatcd settlements, on the heads of Catawba, 
Broad and Pacolet rivers, to take post in the enem3'\s front 
and watch his operations ; but dispatched a messenger with 
this alarming intelligence to Colonels John Sevier and Isaac 
Shelby, on Watauga and Ilolston, those over-mountain 
regions, then a portion of North Carolina, but now of East 
Ti'unessee : urging those noted border leaders to bring to 
his aid all the riflemen they could, and as soon as possible. 
Sevier, unable to leave his trontier exposed to the inroads 
of the Cherokees, responded at once to the appeal, by send- 
ing a part of his regiment under Major Charles Robertson ; 
and Shelby, being more remote, and having been absent on 
a surveying tour, was a few days later, but joined McDow- 
ell, at the head of two hundred mounted riflemen, about the 
twenty-fifth of July, at his camp near the Cherokee Ford 
of Broad river. 

Iiawili:! •!! 



Colonel Clarkc> did not long ivmain in Georjjia. While 
then;, \\v and his associatt's were necessarily compelled to 
secrete themselves in the woods, privately supplied with food 
bv their friends. This mode of life was irksome, and soon 
ht'caiiu' almost insiipportahli', without the least prosjiect of 
aeeomplishiui;" anylliinj4" beneticial to the pul)lic. The retji- 
ment was re-assem'oletl, in auifuu'iited numln'rs, when, by 
a general desire, Colonel Clark*.' leil tiiem alon<^ the eastern 
slope ol' the mountains, directinij their course towards 
North Carolina, wlu-ri' tlH>y could unite with others, and 
render their services uset'ul to their country. Without mis- 
hap or ad\t'nture. thev were joined b\' Coloni'l Jones, as 
they neared the rei,non where tluw expt-cted to thid friends in 
the field. Clarke was soon after joined by the brave Ca|i- 
tain James McCall. with a])oul twenl\ men, iVom the region 
of Ninety Six. T'or want of confidence in Ccjlonel Mc- 
Dowell's actixity, or from some otlu-r cause, Clarke pushed 
on, and joinetl Sumter on or near the Catawba. 

The story of the captivity of Captain Patrick Moore, a 
noted Loyalist, now claims our attention. lie had probably 
escaju'd from liu> slaughter at Ramsour's Mill, on the 
twentieth of June, when his lirother. Colonel John Moore 
safel)' retired to Camden. Anxious lor the capture of Cap- ,, 
tain Moore, Major Jose])h Dickson and Captain Wittk«o-tAtA«-^ 
Johnston were sent out, in the fore part of J 'y, with a 
party to apprehend this noted Tory leader, and others of 
his ilk, if thi'y couhl be founil. "^riie veteran Captain 
Samuel Martin, who had ser\ed in tlie old Fn^nch and 
Indian war, was one of the partv. On Lawson's Fork, of 
Pacolet river, near the Old Iron Works, since Bivingsville, 
and now known as Glendale.* the parties met. and a 
skirmish ensued, in which Captain Johnston and the Tory 
leader had a personal rencontre. Moore was at length 

*Glenclali! is Incited on the Southern side of Lawson's Fork, while the Old Iron Works 
were on the same hank, fully half a mile above, where tlie old road once crossed the stream. 
" These Works.'says Mills, in iSl'6 " were burnt by the Tories, and never rebuilt. " 














">/ > 

rm ^ .'>' 











%^l^ ^^\ '^^ 









S^ Mi>.. 


,.I ( 



overpowered and captured ; but in the desperate contest, 
Johnston received several sword wounds on his head, and 
on the thumb ot'his riglit liand. While bearing his prisoner 
towards the Wliig lines, a slioit distance away, he was rap- 
idly approached by several British troopers. Qiiickh- 
attempting to lire his loaded musket at his pursuers, it unfor- 
tunatel}'^ missed, in consequence of the blood flowing from 
his wounded thumb, and wetting his priming. This mis- 
fortune on his part enabled his prisoner to escape ; and, 
perceiving his own dangerous and defenceless condition, he 
promptly availed himself of a friendly thicket at his side, 
eluded his pursuers, and shortly after joined his command.* 

At this time, or soon after, Moore had command of Fort 
Anderson, or Thicketty Fort, as it was more generally 
called, situated a quarter of a mile north of Goucher Creek, 
and two and a half miles above the mouth of this small 
water-coiu'se, which empties into Thicketty Creek, a west- 
ern tributary of Broad river, uniting with that stream a lew 
miles above its junction widi Pacolet. It was a strong for- 
tress, built a few years before for defence against the Chero- 
kees, and wao surrounded by a strong abatis, well litted for 
a vigorous defence. It became a great place of resort and 
protection for Tory parties. They would sally forth from 
Thicketty Fort, and plunder Whig families in every direc- 
tion — so that women and children were often left without 
clothing, shoes, bread, meat, or salt. 

In the absence of Captain Nathaniel Jeffries, of that 
region, one of these phmdering parties \isited his house, 
appropriated such articles as thev chose, built a tire on the 
floor, abused Mrs. JeflVies as the meanest of all Rc'bels, 
and drove off the horses and cattle. On another occasion, 
the house of Samuel Mcjunkin. in Union District, a 
warm patriot, but too oUl for active military service, was 
visited by a p;irty under Patrick Moore. Thev stayed all 

♦Hunter's Sketches rf ll',s/,-rii Xoit/t Cdrolhin. 24-'; .MS. I'cnsidii SlatcniLiu uf Cap- 
tain Samuel Martin. 



night ; and, when about to cU'part, stripped the family of 
Ix'd-clotliL's and wearing apparel. A noted Tory, Jiill 
Ilaynesworth, seized a bed-quilt, and placed it upon his 
horse, when iMcJunkin's sturdy daughter, Jane, snatched it, 
and a struggle ensued for the possession. The soldiers 
anuised themselves by exclaiming — " Well done, woman !" 
— "Well done. Bill ! " For once Moore's gallantry predomi- 
nated over his loveof plunder ; and he swore roundly if Jane 
could take the quilt from Ilaynesworth, she should have it. 
Presently in the fierce contest, Bill's feet came in contact 
with some dirt\- slime in the yard, and slipped from under 
him, and he lay prostrate and panting on the ground. 
Jane, quick as thought, placed one foot upon his breast, and 
wresting the quilt from his grasp, retired in triumph, while 
poor Bill sneaked otT defeated and crest-fallen. This brave 
woman was the sister of Major Mcjunkin. 

Nor was Miss Nanc\^ Jackson, who lived in the Irish 
Settlement, near Fair Forest creek, less demonstrative in 
defence of her rights ; for she kicked a Toiy down the 
stairs as he was descending,, loaded with plunder. In his 
rage, he tlu-eatened to send the Hessian troops there the 
next day. which obliged the heroic girl to take refuge with 
an acquaintance several miles distant.* 

The intrepid Sumter, hearing of Ferguson's inroads 
beyond Broad river, directed Colonel Clarke and his 
Georgians, together with such persons in his camp as 
resided in that region, and dt'sired to aid in its protection, 
to repair to that quarter. Captain William Smith, of 
Spartanl)urg. and his com]iany. availed them.selves of this 
privilege. Arriving at llie Cherokee Ford, they mef. Colo- 
nel McDowell, when Colonel Shelby, together with Colonel 
Clarke, Colonel Andrew Hampton and Major Charles 
Robertson, of Sevier's regiment, were detached with six 
hundred men, to surprise Thicketty Fort, some twenty 

•MS. S.-,ye papers; S^.ycs Memoir of M,J„nkh, ^ Mr.,. Kllcl ^ H\n„en of the Kevolu- 
lion, 1 .ii>a. 


■5 J 



miles distant. They took up the line ol marcla at sunset, 
and surrounded the post at day -break tlie next morning. 
Colonel Shelby sent in Captain William Cocke, a volun- 
teer — in after years, a United States Senator from Ten- 
nessee — to make a peremptory demand for the surrender 
of the garrison ; to which Moore replied that he would 
defend the place to the last extremity. Shelby then 
drew in his lines to within musket shot of the enemy all 
around, with a full determination to make an assault. 

Shelby's gallant '* six hundred " made so formidable an 
appearance, that on a second message, accomjianied, we 
may well suppose, with words of intimidation. Moore, per- 
haps fearing another Rambour's Mill onslaught, relented, 
and proposed to surrender, on condition that the garrison be 
paroled not to serve again during the war, imless exchanged, 
which was acceded to — the more readily, as the xVmeri- 
cans did not care to be encumbered with prisoners. Thus 
ninety-three Loyalists, with one British Sergcant-^^aior, 
stationed there to discipline them, surrendered themselves 
without firing a gun ; and among the trophies of \ictory 
were two hundred and fifty* stand of arms, all loaded with 
ball and buck-shot, and so arranged at the port-holes, with 
their abundant supplies, that they could, had a Ferguson, '' 
Dunlap, or a De Peyster been at their head, have resisted 
double the number of their assailants. f 

Among the spoils taken at King's Mountain, was th-* 
fragment of a letter, without date or signature — probably a 

*This is Shelby's stntcmcnt ; the MS. Cocke papers s.iy "one hiiinirecl anj fifty stand 
of arms were taken." 

tThe leading f.uts relative to the capture of Thickctty Fcrt are taken from Haywood's 
History of Tentuss,','. 64; Ramsey's Annals 0/ Vfiiiirssi-e, 214; Memoir of Sh'.lhy, in 
X,xli\>nnl Portrait Galhry. written by Colonel Charles S Todd Shelby's s'.n inlaw, .tnd 
which appeared, revised, in the Wcsinn Monthly Magizine. in i8j6; Urea/cales Lift as 
it Is. 50— all which statements closely folKiw a MS, acconnt written by Shelby himself; MS. 
5t,itcment, preserved among the Save papers of John Jeffrie-, son of the phiiidered woman 
mentioned in the narrative; MS papers of Hon, William C'orke fnrnish the name of the 
fort; MS. pension statements of Willi im Smith, of Lincoln conniy. Tennessee. .Alex. Mc- 
Fadden, of Knthcrford county. North Carolina, and John Clark, of W,ishingloii county, 
Tennessee, corrob iraling, ii .1 general way, the facts of the capture; nnd in a personal 
interview with Silas Mcllee. of Pontotoc county. Mississippi, in 1842. he confirmed Shelby's 
statement that ninety-four was the number of Moore's party captured. Mcllee hvedon 
Thickettv at the time of the capture of .Moore and his men. 



copy of a dispiitcli from I"\'rgi'.s(>n to Lord Cornwallis — in 
which this account is given of Thicketty Fort, Moore, antl 
his surrender of the phice : " It had an upper Hue of" hiop- 
holes, and was surrounded In' a very strouL;; abatis, witli 
only a small wicket to enter by. It had been put in thor- 
ough repair at the request of the j^arrison, which consisted 
of neighborin:^ militia tiiat had come to [tlie fort] : and was 
defended bv eighty men against two or threi- lunulred ban- 
ditti without cannon, and each man was of opinion that it 
was impossible [for the Rebels to take it. 1 The ollicer next 
in command, and all the others, gave their opinion for de- 
fending it. and agree in their account that Patrick Moore, 
after proposing a surrender, accpiiesced in their opinion, and 
offered to iro and siiinifv as mucli to the Ri>bels. but re- 
turned with some Rebel odlcers, whom he put in possession 
of the gate and place, who were instantly followed by their 
men, and the fort full of Rebels, to the surprise of the gar- 
rison, lie plead cowardice, I understand.!" 

The capture of Thicketty Fort occurri'd on Sunday, the 
thirtieth of July, as the connecting circumstances indicate, 
and Lieutenant Allaire's Diary proves. Shelby and his 
miMi. loat'ed with the spoils of \ ictory. returned at once to 
McDowelTs camji near the Cherokee Ford. 

McDowell's force at this time could not have exceeded a 
thousand men, whik' Ferguson's nuisl have reached lifteen to 
cigliteen hundred. It was, therefore, the policy of the Ameri- 
cans to maintain their position near Cherokee Ford, guard 
against surprise, and harass their adversaries, until they 
should be able, with augmented numbers, to expel them 
from the country. Shortly after the Thicketty expedition, 
Colonel McDowell again detached Colonels Shelbv. and 
Clarke, with Colonel William Graham, with ;' combined 
force of six hundred momit(>d men. to watch the movements 
of Ferguson's troojis. aiul w tu'ne\er jiossible. to cut otf his 
foraging parties. They directed their course down Broad 

f Ramsey's Tt'fnwssei', 215. 




rive." some twenty-live miles to Urown's creek, in now 
Union county, where it was agret'd lluy should assemble, 
and which was a better situation tiuin die Cherokee Ford, 
to observe the operations of the British and Tories. But 
when only a lew of the parties faii'v began to collect at 
that point, a superior force of the enemy torced them to 
retire, when they bore olF some thirt}- or forty miles to the 
ujiper portion of the Fair Forest settlement, within the 
present limits of Spartanburg". On the way, they seem to 
have gptten their force together. By watching their op- 
portunity, the}' hoptul to gain some decided advantage 
over their oppt)nents, whom they well knew the}- would 
encounter in large numbers in that quarter. Hearing 
of these bold Rebel troopers, Ferguson uuule several in- 
effectual attempts to siu-prise them. But our frontier heroes 
were too watchful to be caugiil napping. Clarke and 
Shelly-, with their men. were constantly on the alert — hav- 
ing no lixed camp, so that they were dillicult to lind. 

On tl J evening of August seventh', Clarke and vShelby, 
with then- troops, stopped tor refreshnn-ul — and, if not dis- 
turbed, for a night's repose — on Fair Forest creek, nearly 
two miles west of Cedar Spring, at a point where the old 
road crossed that stream, leading .hence to Wollbrd's Iron 
Works, and thence onward to the Cherokee Ford. Several 
trusty scouts were sent out to make discoveries, who re- 
turned before day the next morning, with the intelligence 
that the enemy were within half a mile of them. About 
the same moment, the report of a gun was heard, in the 
direction of the liritish party, which was afterward ascer- 
tained to have been fu'ed by one of Dunlap's men — one who 
telt some compunctions of conscience at the idea of surpris- 
ing and massacring his countrymen, but who. protesting 
that it was accidental, was not suspected of treachery. 
The Americans, from prudential motives, retreated toward 
the old Iron Works, on Lawson's Fork of Pacolet, leaving 
Cedar Spring apparently a mile to the right : and taking 



position not very far from tlio old orcliard on the Thompson 
place, which was some three or four miles from the ford over 
Fair Forest, and something like a mile and a half from the 
Iron Works, and about a mile from Cedar Spring. 1 lere 




A— Thomp';on's Plare nnti Pc:n-li Orchard. R —Where one part of the hattle is said 
tn have hoeii fn\iglit. C — Ohl Iron Works, D — Gleiulale or niviiigsville. E— Peach Tree 
Grave. K — Pacolct Hill. G — Cedar Spring. 

suitable ground was chosen, and the men formed for battle, 
when the spies came running in with the information that 
the enemy's horse were almost in sight. Before their re- 
tirement from their former temporary camp at Fair Forest, 
Josiah Culbertson, one of the bravest of young men. who 
had recenUy joined Shelby, had obtained permission to 
return home, two or three miles distant on Fair Forest, 
spend the night, and make such observations as he might, 
of an\' enem\' in that quarter. About da^-light the next 
morning, he rode fearlessly into the encampment he had 
lelt the evening before, supposing it still to be occupied 






In !iis Anicrican friciuls. iiol knowing" that thc}' had dc- 
cumpi'd. and Diinlap had just taki-ii posst'ssion of it. Hul 
Cull^iTtson was c{(ual to tlic oiiu igoncy, for, st'i'inif cvcry- 
iWnv^ so ditlrri'tit from what it was tht- prrvious t-vi'tiinj^, he 
was ([iiick to (HscoNcr his mistake : and with i-xtraorcUnarv 
coolness and presence of mind, hi' rock' \erv leisureh' out 
of the encampment, with his trusty rilk- resting on the pom- 
mel of his saddle before him. As lie passed ak)niL;'. he ol)- 
ser\ed the drairoons jiettin*'- ihi-ir horses in readiness, and 
makin<r other preparations indicating an immediate renewal 
of their line of march. No particular notice was taken of 
him in the British camp, as it was supposed that he was one 
of their own men, who had L,^ot ready for the onward m()V(>- 
ment before his fellows. But when out of sii;ht, lu' ilaslied 
oir with good speed in the direction he inferred that Clarke 
and Shelby had gon(\ and soon overtook his friends, and 
found they had chosen their ground, and were prepared for 
the onslaught. 

Major Dunlap was an ofllcer of much energy and 
promptitude, and soon n^ade his appearance, with a strong 
force, part Colonial dragoons and part mounted militia, 
and commenced the conilict. The Whigs were as eag(M- 
for the fray as the over-confident Britons. The action 
lasted half an hour, and was severely contested. Dun- 
lap's mounted volunteer ritlemen, it is said, who were in 
front, recoiled, giving back at the very first fire of their op- 
ponents, and their commander found it difilcult to rally 
them. 1 laving at length succeeded, he placed himself at 
the head of his dragoons, and led them on to renew the 
contest, followed by the mounted rifiemen, who were, how- 
ever, averse to coming into ^ery close quarters. Dunlap's 
dragoons, with their broad-swords, played a prominent part 
in the action ; and from the disproportion of Tories killed 
over the dragoons, according to the British account, which 
is doubtful, it would appear that Clarke and Shelby's rifle- 
men must have been busy in picking them oil'. During the^ 




mi'ntioned the circunibtancL! of liis Cfiisinjjf, in the midst of 
tlae hattle, to witness, with astoiiislimeiit and admiration, the 
remarkable and unequal struggle Clarke was maintaining 
with his foes. In the fierce hand-to-hand contest, he re- 
ceived two sabre wounds, one on the back of his neck, and 
the other on his head — his stock-buckle saving his life ; and 
he was even, for a few minutes, a prisoner, in charge of two 
stout IJrilons ; but, taking advantage of his strength and 
activit}-, he knocked one of lliem down, when the other 
quickly lied out of the reach of this famous back-woods 
Titan. Clarke was every inch a hero, and was indebted 
to his own good paick and prowess for his escape from his 
enemies, with only sliglit wounds, and the loss of his hat, in 
the iiiiidc* 

Culbertson, with his characteristic daring, had a personal 
adventure worthy of notice. Meeting a dragoon, some 
distance from support, who imperiously demanded his sur- 
render, the intrepid American replied by whijiping his rifle 
to his shoulder and felling the haughty Ih'iton from his 
horse. When the dead were buried the next day, this 
dragoon was thrown into a hole near where he lay, and 
covered with earth, lie happened to have at the time some 
peaches in his pocket, from which a peach tree grew, and 
for many years after, bore successive crops of Iruit. The 
grave is yet pointed out, but the peach tree has long since 
disappeared. A worthy person m that region receiul\- died 
ni'arly a hundred years of age, who used to relate that he 
had, in early life, eaten tVuit trom that tree.f The graves of 
some twenty or thirty others, who tell in this engagement, 
says Governor Perry, were yet to be seen as late as 1842. 

* McCall miMitinns that ("nloiiel CInrku and his son were wounded boili at WcifTord's 
lri>n Works and at Miisgrove s. giving the particidars as occniriiig at the hitler; while 
Shelby notices their Slaving been wounded only at the former, instancing his heroic ren- 
contre there ; and an eye-witness. William Smith, of Tennessee, relates that Clarke received 
a sword wound in the neck, and lost his hat near WofTord's, returning to McDowell's camp 

fMS, letters of N. F. Walker, Esq., of Cedar Sprinjj, June 15th and July 7th, 1880. 



It is qiu'stionab'i'. liowevcr, il'so tiumy, on both sides, were 
killed ill \\\v action.* 

I5y sonic adroit nianaii;i'tnont, a number of British pris- 
oiuM's were captureil, and at U'li^lli Dutilap was In-aten 
back with considerable loss. Mills stati's that he was pur- 
sued a mile, but eould not be overtaken. About two miles 
below till' battle-nround, Dunlap's ru<riti\i's were met bv 
Feri^uson with his whole ibree, who together adxanced 
to the Iron Works, tVoiii whieii, as tlii'V eaine in si;4lit, 
a lew hours alter the action, Clarke and Slu'lby were 
compelled to make a hasty retreat, leavin<r one or two of 
their woundetl behind them — not haviuiT time or conveni- 
ences to conve\' them away ; but thev were treated by 
Ferguson with humanity, and left tlu-re when he ri'tired. 
As Clarki' and Shelby expected, Fery;uson now pursued 
them, with the hope ot' regainiui;" the prisoners. The 
American leaders retired slowly, rorniing riH'([ui'ntly on the 
most advantageous ground to give battle, and so retarding 
the pursuit, that the nnsoners were llnally placed beyond 

Three miles north-east of the old Iron Works, they 
came to Pacolet ; just be\ ond w liich, skirling its north- 
east border, rises a steep, rocky hill, llftv to sixty feet high, 
so steep where the road passed up at that day, that the 
men, in some cases, had to help th 'ir horses up its dillicult 
ascent. Along the crest of this liiJl or ridge, Shelby and 
Clarke disphu'ed their littK- force : and w hen Ferguson and 
his mini came in \ iew. evincing a disinclination to pursue 
any farther, the patriots, from their vantage-ground, ban- 
tered and ridiculed them to their hearts' content. But 
Ferguson, having maintained the chase four or live miles, 


*M.ijor A. F- Wells, of Mnnlev.illo, Alibama. a native cf Spartanburg, narrates a incident which must relate to this battle. After the war, the wiilow of a Tory 
came to the neglected b\iri,al place, and had the fallen dead disinterred, from which .she 
readily selected the remains of her husband, for he was si.v and n half feet high, und piously 
bore them to her distant hunu fur j more Christian inicruiciit. 




now abandoned il, with nolhinLj to boast of, save his 
superior niunbers.* 

Mr. Sayt'\s account of tliis allair, as ^aliicrod iVoiu tiie 
traditions ol" tlic neighborhood, and pubHshed thirty-tlu\'0 
\ears ago, inav \ery properly suppleineiU tiie narrative just 
riihiti'd — with tlie jiassing rt'Piark, lliat what lie descril)es as 
the liaUli> at the pi>ach-orchard. was probalily but one of 
thi- ej)isodes of that day's hemic exploits, and yet it may 
have been the jirincipal one : Shelby's Ibrce occupied a 
position lU'ar the present site of l)ivingsville. Various 
attein|ns wei-e made to tall u|i(in llu- Americans by snrj-)risc> ; 
but thi'se schemes were baHU'd. About Ibur miles I'rom 
Spartanburg Court House, on the main road to rnionville, 
is an ancient plantation known as •Thompson's Old I'lace.' 
It is an elevated tract of country, lying between the tribu- 
tarii's of h'air I'orest Ci\H'k on oiu- side, and those ot Law- 
son's l"'()rk ot' Pacolet on tlu> other — ami about michvay 
between Cedar Spring and the Iron Works. 

A road leading iVom North Carolina to Georgia, by the 
way of the Cherokee I'ord of l>road river, passed through 
this place, and thence by or lu-ar the Cedar Spring. A 
person passing from the direction of luiionvilK' towards 
Spartanburg Court House, crosses this ancii-nt highway, 
after passing which, by looking to the right, the eye rests 
upon a parcel o!' land extending down a holk)w, which was 
cleared and planted in fruit trees jirior to the Revolutionary 
war. T?ey(Mul this hollow, jasi where the road enters a 
body of woodland, there are yet some traces of a human 
habitation. In this orchard, two patrol parties met from the 
adverse armies. The party trom Dunlap's camp were in 
the orchard gathering peaches : the Libertv men tired on 
them, and drove them ("rom the place. In turn, the victors 
entered the orchard, but the report of their guns brought out 

* MS notes of conversations with the late Colonel GcorRe Wilson, of Nashville. T<-n- 
nessee, who derived the facts from his father-in-law, Alexander Orcer. cine i.f Major 
Rohertson's men on the expedition MS. letters of Hon. Simpson Hobo and A, II. 
Twichell. showing the locality of the 1'" olct hill. 





a stronj^ dotachniiMit from the Cedar Spring, as well as a 
iH-infoiveiiU'iU iVotn Slu'lby. Tlie commaiuler of the patrol, 
wlu'U lie saw the enemy approacliing, drew up his men 
under cover of the fence along the ridge, just where the old 
Held and woodland now meet, and where traces of an old 
residence are now barely visible. Here he awaited their 

The onset was furious, but vigorously met. The conflict 
was uuiintained against fearful odds till the arrival of 
reinforcements from Shelby's camp. The scale now 
turned, and the assailants now fell back. The whole force 
of Shelby and Clarke were soon in battle array, confronted 
by the whole British advance, numbering six or seven lum- 
dred men. The struGf'de was renewed with redoubled furv. 
The Liberty men drove back their foes, when the whole 
British army came up. A retreat was now a matter of 
necessity. Such is the local tradition; but local tradition, 
especially in this case, is I'xtremely liable to error and con- 
fusion, from the fact that but lew of the people of that quar- 
ter were present in the action — for the actors were mostly 
from other States, and probably strangers to the neighbor- 
hood, '^riuis far, Mr. Sa3'e's narrative. 

Onl\- two British accouiUs of the action at Cedar Spring 
have come to our knowledge — one bears date Savannah, 
Georgia, August twenty-fourth, 1780. It appeared in Riv- 
mgton's XciL' I'ork Royal (ra:ctlt'^ of Septetuber fourtt-enth, 
copied into the London Chronicle, of No\ember sixteenth, 
ensuing. It has every appearance of being a one-sided and 
diminuitve statement of tin' afTair : '• We learn from Augusta, 
that a Captain of the Qiieen's Rangers, with twenty-four 
dragoons, and about thirty militia, lately charged about 
three hundred Rebels above Ninet}' Six. Whilst they were 
engaged, Colonel Ferguson happily got up with some men 
to the assistance of our small party, which obliged the 
enemy to take to their heels. Fifty of the Rebels were 
killed and wounded ; a Major Smith was among the slain, 

'f. !. 


AhW rrs HEROES. 


and a Lifiitcnaiit-Cokjiiel Clarke was wouiulod, and iliod 
noxt dav. Our loss is said to be one dragoon and seven 
militia killed." 

Allaire supplies the other account : " Got to the ground 
the Rebels were encamped on, at four o'clock on Tuesday 
morning, August eighth. They had intelligence of our 
move, and were likewise iilarmed by the firing of a gun in 
our ranks ; they sneaked from their ground about half an 
hour before we arrived. Learning that the Rebel wagons 
were three miles in front of us at Cedar Springs, Captain 
Dunlap, with fourteen mounted men, and a iuindred and 
thirtv militia, were dispatched to take the wagons. lie met 
three Rtbels coming to reconnoitre our camp ; he pursued, 
took two of them, the other escaped, giving the Rebi'ls the 
alarm. In pursuit of this man, Dunlap and his party 
rushed into the centre of the Rebel camp, where they lay 
in ambush, before he was aware of their presence. A 
skirmish ensued, in which Dunlap got slightly wounded, 
and had between twenty and thirty killed and wounded — 
Ensign McFarland and one private caken priso lers The 
Rebel loss is uncertain — a Major Smith, Captain Potts, and 
two privates were left dead on the lield. Colonel Clarke, 
Johnson [Robertson.] and twenty privates were seen 
wounded. We pursued them live miles, to the Iron Works ; 
but were not able to overtake them, they being all mounted." 

Among the slain was Major Hurweli Smith, who had 
contributed greatly to the settlement of the frontier portion 
of Georgia, where he liad been an activt' and successful 
partisan in Indian warfare, and his fall was deeply lamented 
by Colonel Clarke and his associates. Captain John Potts* 
and Thomas Scott were also among the slain. Besides 
Colonel Clarke's slight wounds with a sabre. Major Charles 
Robertson, a volunteer Irom the Watauga troops, and Cap- 

''This is stuted on the authority of Coh)Mol Graliam. who pnrticlpnteil in the action, 
corrohorateil liy Lieutenant Allaire's Pi.try, A. H. Twli-hell, I'.sq , <if (lleniJale, states as 
the trailitioTi of an ohl resilient of that region, that an Anieriean offieer nanieil Potter was 
sh"' out of a peaeh tree at Thonipsou s plaee. This doubtless refers to Captain I'otls, 



tain Jolm Clarke, the youthl'ul son of the Colonel, yet in his 
teens, and several others, were also wounded in the same 
manner. This close hand-to-hand sabre lighting, which 
McCall describes, contradicts his previous description of the 
action as il' it were simply a " distant lirinw " upon each 
other. It shows, too, that the back-woods ritlemen did not 
take to their heels on the approach of the dragoons with 
their glittering broad-swords. 

It is not easy to determine the actual strength of the 
parties engaged in this spirited contest, nor their respective 
losses. McCall does not specify how many on either side 
took part in the conflict — only that the Americans were out- 
numbered : erroneously naming Innes as the British com- 
mander ; and states that the eneni}' pursued Colonel Clarke 
to Woflbrd's Iron Works, where he had chosen a strong 
position from which the British endeavored to draw 
him, and that a distant firing continued during the after- 
noon, until near night; that the Americans lost four killed 
and live or six wounded, while the eneni}- lost five killed 
and eleven wounded. Mills mentions m one place in his 
work, that Clarke's force was one hundred and sixty-eight, 
in anolher, one hundred and ninetN'-eight, evidently ignorant 
of the presence of Colonels Shelby and Graham, with their 
followers; that Ferguson and Dunlap combined, numbered 
between four and six hundred, of which Dun]aj:)\s advance 
consisted of sixtv dragoons and one hundred and. liftv 
mounted volunteer rifiemen ; that the Americans had four 
killed and twenty-three wounded, all bv the broad-sword ; 
while Dunlap lost twenty-eight of his dragoons, and six or 
seven of his Tory volunteers killed, and several wounded. 
Shelby, in Haywood, states Ferguson's full force at about 
two thousand strong — which Todd augments to twentv-fivc 
hundred — of which Dunlap's advance was reputed at six or 
seven hundred ; that the strength of the Americans was six 
hundred; and acknowledges that ten or twelve of the 
latter were killed and wounded, but does not state the loss 



of their assailants. Colonel Graham gives no numbers, but 
asserts that many of the enemy were killed. These several 
statements diller very much from the British reports, and 
from each other. 

In Shelby's account as originally published in Hay- 
wood's Tennessee, and then in Ramse3'"s, the number of 
prisoners taken is stated at '* twent\', with two British offi- 
cers," which in Todd's memoir of Shelby, are increased to 
" fifty, mostlv British, including two oflicers ; " and Colonel 
Graham in his pension statement, places the number at 
onl^- half a dozen, and Allaire at only two. 

As to the particular time in the da}- in which the contest 
took place, there is also quite a variety of statements. 
Mills places it before day, when so dark that it was hard to 
distinguish friend from foe — his informant doubtless refer- 
ring, not to Dunlap's fight, but to the prior attack upon 
Colonel Thomas, at Cedar Spring, which he so signally 
repe! ed. . 

McCall states that it occurred in the afternoon; Shelby 
is silent on this point ; while Governor Perry's traditions 
conve}' the idea that it was in the morning or fore part of 
the da}', and in this he is corroborated by Captain William 
Snnth,* as well as by the MS. Diary of Lieutenant 

Colonel Graham onlv refers to the lime of d;iv inferen- 

\\ ' 

If ; ,* 


* 4 

•Captain Smith was horn in Hiicks Cmnty. Pennsylvania, September 20th, 1751. and 
early settled in what is now Spartanhurg Connty, South Carolina, He served in Captain 
Joseph Woflonl's company on the Snow tainpaiun, in 1775; and the next year as Lieuten- 
ant on Williamson's expedition against the Cherokees. In 1777, he was made a Captain in 
the militia and was stationed in Wood's I'ort on Tyger. In Deceniher. 1778, he was 
ordered to (ieorgia, serving under General Lincoln; and shared in the battle of Stono, in 
June, 1779: in the contests, as we have seen, near WolTord's Iron Works, Hanging Rock, 
and Mnsgrivc's Mill, in August. 17S0 ; and subsequently at the b.Utle of lilackstocks. in the 
siege of Fort Granby, at Guilford Court House, Quinliy Hridge. the affair at the Juniper. 
and the capture of some llritish vessels at Walboo Landing under Colonel Wade Hampton, 
In the latter part of the war he ranked as Major. After the war, he was chosen County 
Judge, member of Congress from 1797 to 1799, and State Senator f )r twenty years. I'ew 
men served the public longer or more faithfully in military and civil life than Jiidgc Smith. 
He died June ?jd. r.837, in the eighty-sixth year of his .age. His widow survived till 
C>ctobcr 2d, 1842, 

\\ ■■■ \ , 



tially, by stating that it was "several liours" after the 
action before Ferguson, with his combined force, came in 
sight, when Shelby and his men precipitately retired. 

Precisel}' where the tight took place has also been 
a subject of dispute — the result, no doubt, of the general 
vagueness of the descriptions. Mills says it occurred at 
tlie Green Springs, meaning Cedar Spring, near Woftbrd's 
old Iron Works ; Shelby says a' Cedar Spring, as does 
Samuel Espy, of North Carolina, who was also in the 
action. Had these two men, and Mills' informant, stated the 
locality with more exactitude, they might, and probably 
would, have said, that they named the Cedar Spring as a 
permanent landmark, near which the contest transpired, 
and so located it — the same as Gates' defeat is frequently 
referred to as having occurred at Camden, when it really 
took place some seven miles distant. Colonel Graham, one 
of the prominent officers in that affair, refers to it as " at 
Wotlbrd's Iron Works ;" Alexander McFaddcn. a survivor 
of the contest, speaks of it as "the battle of Wofford's Iron 
Works ;" while McCall, the historian, says the enemy pur- 
sued the Americans "to Wofford's Iron Works, where they 
chose their ground, and awaited the attack." 

W^illiam Smith, of Tennessee, another survivor of the 
contest says, " we had a battle near WofTord's Iron Works ; " 
and Captain William Smith, of Spartanburg, who was an 
intelligent officer in the fight, and resided within a few miles 
of the battle-ground the most of his long lite, states that the 
contest took place " near the old Iron Works." His son, 
Hon. John Winsmith, in a historical address he made at 
Cedar Spring, in 1855, and verbally repeated to the writer 
in 1871. describes the hill, tlien covered w'th timber, nearly 
half a mile north-east of Cedar Spring, as the Ii>cality of 
the battle. It is possible that the first half-hour's contest, 
where Clarke had his desperate personal rencontre with 
unequal odds, may have taken place near this hill, as Dr. 
Winsmith believes. " On this locality," says N. F. Walker, 



" within m}' recillection, a muskot-barrel was found, and 
near where we think tlie dead were buried."* 

But as Cedar Spring seems not to have been on the 
old route pursued by the contending parties, the weiglit 
of evidence, and all the circumstances, go to show that 
die chief flighting was "near the old Iron Works," as 
Captain \\'illiam Smith positively asserts. Mr. Saye's 
traditions of the neighborhood, collected there prior to 
1848, fix the locality of, at least, one portion of the con- 
test, at the old orchard on the Thompson place, between the 
Cedar Spring and the old Iron Works, about one mile from 
the former, and nearly two from the latter. The fact that 
the graves of the Tory dead, including the one from which 
the peach tree sprimg, are near the old Tliompson orchard, 
and between it and Cedar Spring, sufficiently attest tlie 
locality where, at least, the principal part of this notable 
passage at arms occurred. 

More space has been devoted to these two somewhat 
blended aflairs — the one at the Cedar Spring, where Colo- 
nel Thomas repulsed the enemy, and the other near Thomp- 
son's peach-orchard — than, perliaps, their real importance 
in history would seem to warrant. At the period of their 
occurrence, they exerted a marked influence on the people 
of the upper region of Carolina, as demonstrating what 
brave and determined men could accomplish in defense of 
their own and their country's rights ; and how successfully 
they could meet an insolent foe, alike in ambush, or on the 
battle-field. As no contemporary- records of these events 
have come down to us, save the vague and unsatisfactory 
Bridsh ones which we have given entire, and the tradition- 
:UT accounts have become more or less intermixed and con- 
fused, it seemed proper to sift them as thoroughly as possi- 
ble, and present the simple narrative of the occurrences as 
the facts seem to indicate. 

♦It may well have been at this hill where the previous Tory attack was made on 
Colonel Thomas. It was a fit place, then covered with timber, to have formed his success- 
ful ambuscade 







The difficulty has hitherto heen, on the part of histori- 
cal writers, in attempts to blend the two affairs, when the 
time, details, and different commanding otlicers, all go very 
clearly to prove that they were entirely distinct, and had 
no connection whatever with each other. It is due to the 
Rev. Mr. Saje, to state that he was the first person who 
discovered the incongruity of applying the details to a sin- 
gle action ; but he was unable to fix their respective dates, 
or determine which took the precedence of the other in 
point of time. McCalls Ilisiory of Georgia has furnished 
the key to unlock the ditliculty with reference to the time 
of the attack on Thomas' force at Cedar Spring, and all the 
circumstances go to confirm it ; while the hitherto unpub- 
lished Diary of Lieutenant Allaire determines tlie date of' 
the affair near Wofford's Iron Works.* 

*The authorities consulted i'l the preparation of this notice of the action near Cedar 
Spring and WolToid's Iron Works, are; McCall's Georgia, ii, 314; Haywood's Tenmssie. 
64-65; Mills' Sluiisii'ts c/ South Carolina, 256.738-39; Todd's l\Iemoir of Shelby : Governor 
Perry's account in the Magnolia Magazine, August, 1842 ; New York Royal Cazittc. Sep- 
tember 14th, 1780; Lotidon Ckivniclf. November lOth, 1780; Saye's Memoir of Mijunkir.. 
and the Sayi; MSS ; MiiS. of L)r. John H. Logan ; Allaire's MS. Diary; Win.«mitli's Ad- 
drtss, 1853; together with the MS. pension statements of Colonel William Graham, Cap- 
tain William Smith, of Spartanburg, Samuel Espy, Alexander McKadden, and William 
Smith, of Tennessee, all participants in the action ; also MS. notes of conversations with 
ColoTie) George Wilson, of Tennessee. 1 am indebted to N. F. Walker, Esq., of Cedar 
Spring, and A. H. Twichcll. Esq., of Glendale, for traditions, and descriptions of the 
localities cnnnerled with the battle and the retreat. 

Ramaay, Moultrie. Lee's A!eMioir\ Johnson's Greene, and other early writers, do not 
oven notice this action; nor such modern historians as Bancroft, Hildreth, and Stevens. 
Lossing. Wheeler, Simms. Ramsey's Tennessee, and O'Neall's Newberry briefly refer to it ; 
while Mrs. Ellet, in her Women c/ the Revolution, and her Domestic History 0/ the Rei'o- 
lution, simply copies from Mills, misapplying the story of Mrs. Ddlard's adventure. 

I have not cited what passes for Colonel Hammond^, .ccount of the battle, in a new.s- 
paper series, and also in Johnson's Traditions 0/ the Revolution, simply because he could 
not liave written it; but it was evidently mannfictured from Mills' Statistics, with some 
imaginary intcrlardings, to give it a new appearance. Dawson, in his I^attles 0/ the United' 
States^ has given a chapter on this affair, based on the pretended Hammond narrative. 




1780— August 18. 

Musgrovcs Mill Expedition and Battle. — Rencontre of the Patrol Par- 
ties. — British Alarm. — Information of the Enemy's Reinforcement. 
— IVhigs throw up Breast-works.— Captain Inman's Stratagem. — 
Enemy Drawn into the Net prepared for them. — Desperate Fight- 
ing. — Innes and other British Leaders IVoiinded. — Tory Colonel 
Clary's Escape. — Captain Inman Killed. — The Retreat and the 
Rout. — Incidents at the Ford. — Sam Moore's Adventure. — The Brit- 
ish and Tory Reserve. — A British Patrol Returns too late to share 
in the Battle. — Burial of the slain. — Length and severity of the Action. 
— Respective Losses. — News of Gates' Defeat — its Influence. — Whigs' 
Retreat. — Anecdote of Paul Hinson. — 77/^? Prisoners. — Williams' Re- 
ward. — Cornwallis' Confession. — Comparison of Authorities. 

Returning from their Fair Forest expedition, Clarke 
and Shelby's men needed a little repose. McDowell soon 
after removed his camp from the Cherokee Ford, taking 
post, some ten miles below, on the eastern bank of 
Broad River, at Smith's Ford. By his faithful scouts, 
Colonel McDowell was kept well informed of Ferguson's 
movements and out-posts. Learning that a body of some 
two hundred Loyalists were stationed at Musgrove's Mill, 
some forty miles distant on the Enoree, to guard the rocky 
ford at that place, it w'as regarded as a vulnerable point — 
all the more so, since Ferguson, with his main force, was 
stationed considerably in advance, between that place and 
the American encampment, thus tending to lull into security 
those in their rear. 

The term of enlistment of Colonel Shelby's regiment 
was about to expire, and that enterprising officer was 
desirous of engaging in another active service before retir- 
ing to his home on the Holston. Colonels Shelbv and 



Clarke were appointed to lead a party of mounted men to 
surprise or attack the Loyalists at MusLjrove's. Witli Clarke 
was Captain James McCall and Captain Samuel I lammond. 
Colonel James Williams, whose home was in that region, 
but who had been driven from it, had, on the sixteenth of 
August, joined McDowell with a few Ibliowers — prominent 
among whom wereColonel Thomas Brandon, Colonel James 
Steen, and Major Mcjunkin ; and these united with Shelby 
and Clarke, together with several other experienced oflicers, 
who volunteered to share in the enterprise, among whom 
were Major Joseph McDowell, the brother of the Colonel, 
Captain David Vance, and Captain Valentine Sevier, and 
with the latter, a number of Watauga and Nolachucky rifle- 

It was largely rumored, that a military chest was either 
at Musgrove's, or was being conveyed from Ninety Six to 
Ferguson's camp ; and the Whigs hoped to intercept it on 
the way. Whatever influence this prospect of obtaining 
British treasure may have exerted on the volunteers, as we 
hear no more of the chest, we may conclude that it was a 
camp 3'arn, gotten up for the occasion ; or, if a reality, it 
certainly eluded the grasp of the adventurers. 

Secrec}' and dispatch were necessary to success. A 
night march was therefore chosen, when less likely to be 
observed, and cooler for the horses to travel, Shelb}- and 
his two hundred adventurous followers left camp an hour 
before sun-down, on the seventeenth of August. Williams, 
Brandon, and their men, were well acquainted with the 
country, and knew the best route to effect their purpose. 
They traveled through die woods until dark, when they fell 
into a road, and proceeded on all night, much of the way in 
a canter, and without making a single stop — crossing 
Gilkv's and Thicketty creeks, Pacolet, Fair Forest, and 
Tyger, with other lesser streams, and passing within three 
or four miles of Ferguson's camp on their left, which was, 
at this time, at Fair Forest Shoal, in Brandon's settlement. 



•* ; 

some t\vcnt\-si\ miles from Smith's Ford ; and from Fair 
Forest Shoal, it was slill twelve or fourteen miles to Mus- 
grove's. It was a hard night's ride. 

Arriving, near the dawn of day, within a mile nearly 
north of Miisgrove's Ford, tiie Whig parly halted at an old 
Indian iield, and sent out a party of live or six scouts to 
reconnoitre the situation. They crossed the mouth of Cedar 
Shoal Creek, close to the Spartanhurg line, a short distance 
below Musgrove's Mill, and then passed up a by-road to 
Head's Ford, a mile above IMusgrove's, where they forded 
the Enoree, and stealthily approached sufliciently near the 
Tory camp to make observations. Returning the same 
route, \vhen on the top of the river ridge, west of Cedar 
Shoal creek, they encountered a small Tory patrol, which 
had passed over at Musgrove's Ford, during their absence 
above, and thus gained their rear. A sharp firing ensued, 
when one of the enemy was killed, two wounded, and two 
fled precipitately to the Tory camp. Two of the Ameri- 
cans were slightly wounded, who, with their fellows, now 
promptly returned to Shelby and Clarke's halting place, 
with the intelligence they had gained, and the particulars 
of their skirmish. 

This firing, and the speed}' arrival of the two patrol- 
men, put the Tory camp in wild commotion. Colonel 
Innes, Major Fraser, and other officers who had their head- 
quarters at Edward Musgrove's residence, held a hurried 
council. Innes was for marching over the river at once, 
and catching the Rebels before they had time to retreat ; 
while others contended for delay, at least till after break- 
fast, by which time, it was hoped, a part}' of one hundred 
mounted men, who had gone on a patrol, eight miles below, 
near Jones' Ford, would return, and thus add very materi- 
ally to their strength. But Innes' counsels prevailed, lest 
they should miss so fine an opportunity "to bag" a scurvy- 
lot of ragamuffins, as they regarded the adventurous Ameri- 
cans. So leaving one hundred men in camp as a reserve, 






1 H i. I i 

preparations wore made for an immediate advance to meet 
the unexpected invaders. 

Meanwhile, Shelhy and Chirke had taken position on a 
timbered rid^^e, some little distance east of Cedar Shoal 
creek, and within about half a mile of Musj»"rove's Ford and 
Mill. At this juncture, a countryman, who lived near by, 
came up, ^ivin<( information that the IJritish had been rein- 
forced the precedin<^r i:venin<^, by the arrival of Colonel 
Alexander Junes, from Ninety Six, with two hundred men 
of the Provincial regiments, and one hundred Tories, des- 
tined to join Colonel Ferguson. A British writer represents, 
that Innes' detachment consisted of a light infantry com- 
pany of the New Jersey Volunteers, under Captain Peter 
Campbell ; a company of De Lancey's Provincial Battalion, 
under Captain James Kerr, together with about one hundred 
mounted men of his own regiment, the South Carolina 
Royalists. This could not have included the regular garri- 
son previously stationed there, apparently under the com- 
mand of Major Fraser. Captain Abraham Ue Peyster, of 
the King's American regiment, as well as the noted Loyalist 
partisan, Captain David Fanning, were also there; while 
Colonel Daniel Clary was encamped there, at the head of 
the Tories of that region. 

So minute were the circumstances of the information 
communicated by the countryman, that no doubt was enter- 
tained of its truth ; and to march on and attack the enemy 
appeared rash, and to attempt a successful retreat, wearied 
and broken down as the horses were, seemed almost im- 
possible. Colonel Shelby and his associates instantly con- 
cluded, that they had no alternative — light they must. 
Securing their horses in their rear, they resolved to impro- 
vise a breast-work of logs and brush, and make the best 
defense possible. Their lines were Ibrmed across the road, 
at least three hundred yards in length, along the ridge, in 
a semi-circle, and both protected and concealed by a wood. 
Old logs, fallen trees and brush were hurried into place, so 



that in thirty minutes they had a \ rry ivspcctahle protection, 
breast-lii^h. vSliolhy occupied the rij^ht — Chu'ke the left; 
and WiUiains in the center, tliough with no special com- 
mand, for the whole force Ibrmed one extended line. A 
party of some twent}- horsemen were placed on each flank, 
shii'lded, as much as possil)le. from the enemy's observa- 
tion — Josiah Culbertson ha\inf^ the command of that on 
Shelby's right ; and Colonel Clarke had a reserve of forty 
men within calling distance. 

Captain Shadrach Inman, who had figured prominently 
in l)atding the British and Tories in Georgia, was sent for- 
ward, with about twenty-live mounted men, with orders to 
fire upon, and provoke the enemy to cross the ford, and 
skirmish wilh them, at his discretion ; and retire, drawing 
the British into the net which Shelby and Clarke had so 
adroitly prepared for them. This stratagem, which was the 
suggestion of the Captain himself, worked admirably, for 
the British infantry seemed elated widi their success in 
driving Inman at the point of the bayonet ; but the Whig 
Captain kept up a show of fighting and retreating. While 
the enemy were yet two hundred yards distant from the 
American breast-w^orks, they hastily formed into line of 
Ixittle ; and as they advanced lift}' yards nearer, they opened 
a heavy fire, pretty generally over-shooting their antago- 
nists. When trees were convenient, the fronticrmcn made 
use of them, while others were shielded behind their rudely 
constructed barrier, and, to some extent, availed themselves 
also of a fence extending along the road. The Americans 
had been cautioned to reserve their fire "till they could see 
the whites of tlie Tories' eyes ;" or, as another has it, "till 
they could distinguish the buttons on their clothes" — nor 
even then to discharge their rifles, until orders were given, 
when each man was "to take his object sure." These 
orders were strictly obeyed. 

The British center, on whom Inman made his feigned 
attacks, seeing him retire in apparent confusion, pressed 




forwartl, untlcr W\\\. of drum aiul bii^lo char^fis in pursuit, 
but in consitlerablo disoriliT, slututiti^r; " Ilu/./.a tor King 
Georj^e ! " On approachin*^ within seventy yards of the 
American lines, thi-y were unexpectedly met w ilh a di-adly 
Hre, from which they at lirst recoiled. But their superi- 
ority in numbers enabled them to continue their attack, 
notwithstanding the advantage which the breast-work 
gave the Americans. A strong force, composed of the 
I'rovincials, led on by Innes and Fraser, forming the 
enemy's left wing, drove, at the point of the bayonet, 
the riirht win<r under Shelby from their breast-work. 
It was a desperate struggle — Shelby's men contending 
against large odds, and the right flank of his right wing 
gradually giving away, whilst his left Hank maintained its 
connection with the centre at the breast-work. The lelt 
wing, opposed by the Tories, retained its position ; and, see- 
ing Shelby in need of vsuccor, Clarke sent his small reserve 
to his aid, which proved a most timely relief. At this criti- 
cal moment, as Innes was forcing Shelby's right flank., the 
British leader was badly disabled, fell from his charger, and 
was carried back — shot, it was reported, by one of the 
Watauga volunteers, William Smith, who exultingly ex- 
claimed, '• Ive killed their commander," when Slu'lby 
rallied his men, who raised a regular frontier Indian yell, 
and rushed furiously upon the enemy, who were gradually 
forced back before tlie exasperated riflemen. Culbertson's 
flanking party acted a conspicuous part on this occasion. 

It was unfortunate for the enemy, thai, in this desperate 
contest, one Captain was killed, and five out of seven of the 
surviving officers of their Provincial corps were wounded. 
Besides Innes, shot down by Smith, another Watauga rifle- 
man, Robert Beene, wounded Major Fraser, who was seen 
to reel iVom his horse. Captain Campbell, together with 
Lieutenants Camp and William Chew, were also among 
the wounded.* 


-'Colonel Iniies was n Scotchman. He was probably a /ro/c^c of his countryman, Alex- 
ander Cameron, the British Indian Agent among x\ • t hcrokees ; ami was, ii woulj appear, 



These; lieavy losses had a \ cry cUshearteniiiff clVect upon 
the Hritish troops. And Uie Tories, failiiii,' to make any 
impression on Clarke's line, and ha\ ini^ aln-ady lost sevi>ral 
of their ollieers, and many ofllu-ir men, bej^an to show sij^ns 
ot" wavering, when Captain Ilawsi'v, a noted leader among 
them, who was striving to re-animate the Loyalists, and 

In di 

retrieve the fortimes of the day, was shot down, in the 
midst of the confusion that followed, Clarke and his brave 
nu'n, following Shelby's example, pushed forth from their 
barrier, yelling, shooting and slashing on everv hand. It 
was in the nic!6i\ when the liritish defeat was too appare-nt, 
that the Tory Colonel Clary had the opposite bits of ids 
horse's bridle seized at the same moment by two stalwart 
Whigs. lie had, however, the ingenuity anil presence of 
mind to extricate himself tVom his perilous situation by 
exclaituing — " I) — n you, don't you know ^our own 
olFicers I " lie was instantly released, and lU-d at full speed.* 
The British and Tories were now in full retreat, closely 
followed by the intrepid mountaineers. It was in this excit- 
ing jiursuit that die courageous Captain Inman was killed, 
while pressing the enemy, and lighting them hand-to- 
hand, lie received seven shots from the Tories, one, 
a nuisketball, piercing his forehead. He fell near the base 
of a Spanish oak that stood where the modern road leaves 
till' old mill road, and where his grave was still pointed 

.111 assistant commissary at tlie I.nn;; Island nf Ilnlstnn, at one time; and in the fall of 
1777. ri-'liirncd to the Chcrnkee nation, taking up liis iiiiarttrs with Cameron. He was 
commissioned Colonel of the South Carolina Royalists, J.uiuary 20, 1780; in 17S2, he was 
Inspector (Jeiicral of the Loyalist forces. Colonel llanyer, in his Ri'/'ly to Mackcn/ie's 
Struturcs states that Innes was living retired in 1789, prohahly on half-pay. 

Of Major Frascr, who was wonndcd in this engagement, wc have no further knowl- 
edge. Captain Camphell was of Trenton, New Jersey, settled in New Brunswick, after was declared, on half-pay, dying in Maiigersvillc in that Colony in 1822, and was 
hiiried at Frcdcrickton. Lieutenant Chew retired at the close of the war, on half-pay, to 
New Brunswick, dying at Frcdcrickton, in 1812, aged sixty-four. Of Lieutenant Camp's 
career, before or after the affair at Musgrove's Mill, we have no information. 

* Colonel Clarey was a prominent citizen of Ninety Si.x District; and surviving the 
war, remained in the country. Notwithstanding his great error in siding with the Tories, 
he was greatly beloveil. and. in after life, performed all the duties of a good citizen, until 
peacefully gathered to his fithcrs. Ilir had, a few years since, a grandson, Colonel Clary, 
living in Edgefield County, and other decendants. 


. I 





out huL ;i lew 3-ciirs since. Groat credit is justly due to 
Capliiiu lunuui for liie suici'ssful manner in whicli he 
bn)u<;lit on the action, and the aid he rendered in con- 
ducting it to a triumphant issue. 

The yells and screeches 
of tile retreating iJrilish and 
Tories as they ran through 
tlu' woods, anil over the hills 
to the river — loudly inter- 
mingK>d witli the shouts of 
thi'ir pursuiMs, togctlu'r vvitli 
the groans of the d}ing and 
wounded, were terrilic and 
heart-rending in the ex- 
triMue. '^The smoke, as well 

Plat nfRocionn.-arMi.scrovcs Mill, '^■'^ ••'l'-' ^^''^ '"*'' COUlusion, 

A. (Ir.ivis. It. \Vlier<- C|. tain linii;iii wan ,.,.^,,, l,:,fl, .,K,n-, > j Iw. ,. vi-i I iii.r 
kilkcl.aHlic junction of the old and new roads, l**^*^ '''t>'' 'IDON l IIU, CXLlling 

scene, '^Fiie Toiies ceased to niakt' any show of defcMise 
when half w:>v from the breast-works to the ford. The 
retreat tiien becinie a jH-rlect rout : and now, witii ri'ck- 
less s|)eed. tliev hastem-d to the ri\-er, througii which they 
rusheil with the wildest fury, hotl\- pursued by the victorious 
Am.Micans with sword and rille, killing, wounding or cap- 
turing all who came in their wa\'. 

Many of the British and Tories were shot down as tlu^y 
were hastening, jiell-mell, acrt)ss the Enoree at the rocky 
forth Atu-r tiu'v were fairly o\er. oiu', not yet too weary 
to iiis bravado, and attract altiMition for tlu' moment, 
turned up his buttock in derision at the Americans ; when 
otie of (he Wiiig ollicers, probably l»randon or Steen, said 

to Golding Tinsley 

L'an"t vou turn that insolent brag- 

\^nv,f\ service in the up country of South C.irolinn 
n '.'ulprper County, Vir^;inia. in or about 175''), as stated iti 
his pension papers, and settled in South Carolina about 1771. Ue early served in the 

♦'I'his old snldier, who did 
dnrii>L; the Ucvolulion, was born i 

RanRcrs. Uo participated iu the battle of Stouo, the sci^c o 

;.f Sa 

nab, and look an active 

p.irl in the actions at Miis^;rovc's Mill. K.inn's M(Mintain, and lilacKstocks, lie had tw( 

Irothcrs killed by the I'nri' 

llir I'. 

ircsl region during the war. Me lived to enjoy 

a pension, dyin^ in Spartanburg County, May nth, 1IS51, aged about nineiy-nve yean. 




over : 

T can try," ri-spoiukd l^inslcy, who was 

>n()wn to possess a Lfood nlk-, wlicii, siuliiii;' 


u' action to 

the word, he took prompt aim, and lirinl — and snre enoni^h, 
Itirncd him r^zw, when some- of his eonuades picked the 
fellow np, and carried him oil'. Another instance of sharp- 
shootiniT '^i mentioned: One of tiic eneiin, who iiad re- 
crossed the ford, betook himself to a convenient tre(>, which, 
however, did not fully protect his person, for 'i'homas 
GilK's|-»ie, one of tlie \Vatan<:ja rilleinen, brouglit his rillc to 
bear on tlie Tory's partially exposed body, and the next 
moment lie liit the dnst. 

it is related, that while the llrini;- was yet kej^t np, on 
the noilhsitle of the Enoree, an intrepid iVontierman, Cap- 
tain vSam Moore, led a small party of ten or twelve nu-n 
lip the river, and crossing;" the stream at Heads I'ord, 
rushed down upon a portion ol" the encm\' with such im- 
pelu(>sit\' and audacity as to impress them with tlu' bi'lief 
that tliev wi're hut the vanguard of a nuicli laii^er force, 
when they incontinently fled, and Moore rejoined his 
victorious friiMids over the ri\i'r. 

Some inlerestin;^ incidents connecteil with, ami follow- 
intj the battle, deservi' a place in this connection. So many 
of tlu' Ih-itish and 'i'ory reserve as could, mounted to the 
top of AFus^rovt-'s house, that tlu'\- mii^ht witness the con- 
test, not doubtin<^ for a momi'ut that King George's men 
could and would bear down all before them. They saw the 
heroic Imnan deliver his successive (ires and retri'at. fol- 
hnvt'd closely by Innes' pursuers ; and su]")posi'd this little 
hand constituted the whole of tlu' Rebel jiarty. To liieso 
house-lop obsi'rvt>rs, the bold inv;;ders were beaten back — 
routed ; when the)- threw up tlu'lr hats, indulging in shouts 
that iTiade the old hill in the rear of Musgrove's resound 
again, witli (>choes and re-echoes, in connni'moration of 
their imaginary victory. At length, reaching the conceaK'd 
Whigs, a tremendous fu'e biu'st upon their pursuits, which 
caused a deathly paleness on the countenance of some fifty 



of the reserve party, who \vore it was saici, paroled British 
prisoners, doing duty contrary to the huvs of war — they, 
especially, dreading the consequences of a possible capture 
at the hands of the Americans. Their shoutings ceased — 
thev peered anxiously, with bated breath, towards the con- 
tending parties. At length they raised the cry of despair: 
"We are beaten — our men are retreating;" and long 
before the Tories had re-crossed the river, these demoral- 
ized Britons had seized their knap-sacks, and were scam- 
pering otT towards Ninety Six at their liveliest speed. 

The large patrolling party which had been down the 
river near Jones' Ford, heard the liring, and came dashing 
back at full speed ; and while Jescending the steep hill, 
east of the old Musgrove domicile, their bright uniforms 
and flashing blades and scabbards reflected the rays of the 
morning sun just rising in its splendor. They reined up 
their panting steeds betbre Musgrove's, the commanding 
ollicer eagerly iiu[uiring what was the matter. A hurried 
account of the battle was given, which had terminated so 
disastrously some thirty minutes betbre ; when, rising in his 
stirrups, and uttering deep and loud imprecations, the cav- 
alry commander ordered his men to cross the river. They 
daslied at full speed over the rocky ford, splashing the 
water, \\'hich, with the resplendent sun-rays, produced 
miniature rainbows around the horses. The}- were too late, 
for the victorious Americans had retired with their prison- 
ers, leaving the Britisli troopers the melancholy duty of 
conveying their wounded fellons to the hospital at Mus- 

For many miles around, every woman and child of the 
surrounding country, who were able to leave their homes, 
visited the battle-ground — some for plunder, some from 
curiosity, and others for a diflerent purpose. It was chiefly 
a Tory region, the few Whigs having retired from motives 
of personal safety, joining Sumter and other popular lead- 
ers. The most of these visitors were of Loyalist families ; 



and it was interesting to witness them, as well as the few 
Whig ladies present, turning over the bodies of the slain, 
earnestly examining their faces, to see if they could recog- 
nize a father, husband, son, or brother. Not a few went 
away with saddened hearts, and eyes bedewed with tears. 

Sixteen Tories were said to have been buried in one 
grave, near the mouth of Cedar Shoal creek — the particular 
spot long since defaced and forgotten. Several were in- 
terred between the battle-ground and ford, but a stone's 
throw below where George Gordon resided some thirt}- }ears 
since, on the west side of the old road ; while others were 
buried in the yard of the late Captain Philemon Waters, 
midway between the ford and battle-field, opposite the dog- 
wood spring, and others yet were buried in a grave-yard, 
just below Musgrove's house. A burial spot is still pointed 
out on the battle-ridge, just east of the old road. 

It was a complete rout on the part of the British and 
Tories. They seem to have apprehended, that the Whig 
forces, in the flush of victor}-, might push on to Ninety Six, 
then believed to be in a weak and defenceless condition. 
The Tory leader. Fanning, states, that after the battle, the 
British retreated a mile and a quarter, where they encamped 
for the remainder of the day ; and, in the night, marclied 
off towards Ninety Six, under the command of Captain 
De Peyster. This probably refers to only a part of the 
enemy ; for the larger portion must have remained, if for 
nothing else, at least to take care of their wounded. 
Another British writer, INIackenzie, represents, that in the 
retreat from the battle-ground, they were conducted by 
Captain Kerr to the southern bank of die Enoree, where 
they remained till reinforced by Lieutenant-Colonel Cruger 
from Ninety Six, " Captain Kerr," says the Georgia his- 
torian, McCall, "finding that resistance would be in vain, 
and without hope of success, ordered a retreat, which was 
effected in close order for four miles, resorting to the bayo- 
net for defence in flank and rear. The pursuit was con- 



tinned by ^lie victors, until the enemy took refuge in Mus- 
grove's Mill," which \\;is on the south side of the Enoree, in 
the north-east corner of the present county of Laurens, 
noted on Mills' A/ /as of South Carol/' lui as Gordon's Mill. 

Colonel Williams' oflicial account represents that the 
main WA\i — the one at the breast-work — lasted only lifteen 
minutes, when the enemy were obliged to retreat, and were 
pursued two miles ; and that Colonel Innes was reported to 
be wounded by two balls — one in the neck and the other 
breaking the thigh — and that three Tory Captains were 
slain. "The enemy declared they sutTered exceedingly in 
the action with Colonel Williams ; that Captain Campbell, 
an officer in high repute, of the regulars, among others, 
was killed,"* and Governor Rutledge confirms the fact that 
*• one British Captain " was among tue slain. 

Shelby states, that the action continued an hour before 
the enemy were repulsed in front of the breast-work ; while 
McCall asserts, that it was "but a few minutes after the 
contest began, when so many of the Provincial ofiicers were 
either killed or wounded, and "the men tumbled down in 
heaps, without the power of resistance," when the survivors 
retreated under Captain Kerr.f Probably Colonel Williams' 
recollection of the length of the battle before the retreat, 
written within a few days thereafter, is approximately cor- 
rect ; and possibly well nigh an hour may have been con- 
sumed by the time the enemy were driven across the ford, and 
took refuge in the mill. "This action," says Colonel Hill's 
manuscript, " was one of the hardest ever fought in the 
country with small arms alone ; the smoke was so thick as 

♦Statement in I'lrginiit Cizette. September 27th. 1780. of Allmnn. of Colonel 
Sliihtilcfield's regiment of Virijinia militi:i, who was captured al Gates' defeat, and subse- 
quently escaped from Camden. 

t Captain James Kerr was probably a resident of Long Island or Connecticut, from 
whose refu,i;ees most of tlie Queen's Rangers were raised, in which corps he was a Captain. 
After the war, he retired on half pay, first to New Brunswick, and then 10 Kings i:oiinty. 
Nova Scotia, where he was made Colonel of the militia. He died at Amherst, in that 
Province, in 1S30, at the .age of seventy-six. leaving a widow, who survived him ten years, 
dying at seventy-four. Three sons and a daughter preceded him to the grave, but twelve 
children survived him. 

'.f" w 



to hide II man at the distance of twent}' rods." Shelby 
described this battle as "the hardest and best fought action 
he ever was in " — attributing this valor and persistency to 
"the great number of officers who were with him as volun- 

It must be confessed, that the Provincials and Tories, 
before their final rout, fought braveh'. Their dragoons, 
but lately raised, and indifferently disciplined, behaved with 
much gallantry, figlUing on the left with Innes. They all 
exhibited, more or less, the training they had received 
under that superior master, Ferguson. Tiie British loss, in 
this afTair, was sixty-three killed, about ninety woimded, 
and seventy prisoners — a total of not far from two hundred 
and twenty-three, out of four or five hundred, which is an 
unusually large proportion for the number engaged in the 
action. The American loss was only four killed and eight 
or nine wounded. This disparity in killed and woundeu, 
resulted largely from over-shooting* on the part of the 
enemy, and the decided advantage which the trees and 
breast-works afforded the Whigs for their protection. The 
skill of the fronticrmen in the use of their rifles was never 
better displayed nor more effective ; while, in the retreat, 
the loss fell almost exclusively on the panic-stricken Britisli 
and Tories. 

Anxious to impro\e the advantage they had so signally 
gained, Shelby and his heroic compeers at once resolved to 
pursue the demoralized Tories, and make a dash for Ninety 
Six, which they iearned was in a weak condition ; and 

* Richard Thompson, of Fair Forest, when a boy of some twelve or fourteen years, 
while on liis way with liis mother to visit his father, tlien imprisoned at Ninety Six. passed 
over the hatlle-ground at M nsgrove's a few days after its octurreme, and ohserved the 
hnllet marks on the trees — those of the Ilrilish and Tories generally indicating an aim ahovc 
the heads of tlie:r antagonists, while tlmse f>f the Whigs were from three to five feet ahovc 
the gronnd. He learned from his father and other prisoners at Ninety Six. that the fugi- 
tives reported the Whig strengtli in that action as five thousand; and sui h was the con- 
sternation of the ga-rison of Ninety Six on receipt of the news of the hattle, that had the 
victorious Whigs showed themselves there, it would have heen dilTicult for Colonel Cruger 
and his officers to have prevented a general stampede. — Saye's MSB., and Memoir of 



being only some twenty-five miles distant, they could easily 
teach there before night. Returning to their horses, and 
momiting them, while Shelby was consulting Colonel 
Clarke, Francis Jones, an express from Colonel McDowell, 
rode up, in great haste, with a letter in his hand from Gen- 
eral Caswell, who had, on the sixteenth, shared in General 
Gates' total defeat near Camden, apprising McDowell of 
the great disaster, and advising him and all officers com- 
manding detachments to get out of me way, or they would 
be cut off; McDowell sending word that he would at once 
move towards Gilbert Town. General Caswell's hand- 
writing was fortunately familiar to Colonel Shelby, so he 
knew it was no Tory trick attempted to be played ofl' upon 
them. He and his associates instantly saw the difficulty of 
their situation ; they could not retire to McDowell's camp, 
for his force was no lonijer there — Gates' army was killed, 
captured and scattered — and Sumter's, too, was soon desdned 
to meet the same fate ; in their rear was Cruger, with what- 
ever of Innes' and Eraser's detachments remained, with 
Ferguson's strong force on their flank. There was no 
clioice — further conquests were out of tlie quesdon. So 
Ninety Six was left unvisited by the mountaineers — doubt- 
less for them, a fortunate circumstance, as they were with- 
out cannon, and Colonel Cruger, who commanded there, 
was no Patrick Moore, as his brave defence of that garri- 
son against General Greene and his thousands, the following 
year, sufficiently attested. It was, therefore, determined in 
a hasty council on horseback, that they would take a back- 
woods route, to avoid and escape Ferguson, and join Colo- 
nel McDowell on his retreat towards Gilbert Town. 

Hurriedly gathering the prisoners together, and dis- 
tributing one to every three of the Americans, who conveyed 
them alternately on horseback, requiring each captive to 
carry his gun, divested of its ffint, the whole cavalcade 
were ready in a few minutes to beat a retreat, as they knew 
full well that Ferguson would be speedily apprised of their 



success, and make a strenuous effort, as he did at Wotlbrd's 
Iron Works, to regain the prisoners. Here an amusing 
incident occurred. Riding along the ranks, viewing the 
prisoners, Colonel Williams recognized among them an old 
acquaintance in the person of Saul Ilinson, ver}' diminutive 
in size, who had the previous year served under his com- 
mand at the battle of Stono, when the Colonel pleasantly 
exclaimed: "Ah I my little Sauly, have we caught you?"" 
"Yes, Colonel," replied the little man, " and no d — d great 
catch either ! '" Saul's repartee only caused a laugh, and 
neither that nor his false position subjected him to any thing 
beyond the common restraint of a prisoner. 

Some of the few wounded, who were not able to ride, 
were necessarily left ; and, it is pleasant to add, the}- were 
humanely cared for by the British, and especially by the 
Musgrove family. Among them was one Miller, shot 
through the body, whose injuries were believed to be mortal. 
A silk handkerchief was drawn through the wound to cleanse 
it. His parents, from the lower part of the present county 
of Laurens, obtained the services of an old physician. Dr. 
Ross, to attend to their wounded son, though it is believed 
the British surgeons were not wanting in their professional 
attentions. He at length recovered. 

The Whig troopers, encumbered with their prisoners, 
now hurried rapidly away in a north-westerly direction, 
instead of a north-easterly one towards their old encamp- 
ment. The}- passed over a rough, broken country, crossing 
the forks of Tj-ger, leaving Ferguson on the right, and 
headinji their course towards their own friendlv mountains. 
As they expected, they were rapidly piu\sued by a strong 
detachment of Ferguson's men.* Wearied as the mountain- 
eers and their horses were, with scarcely any refreshment 
for either, yet Shelby's indomitable energy permitted them 

♦This detachment could not have been led by Captain De Peyster. as supposed by 
Colonel Shelby, for that officer, as the Tory annalist, Fanning, asserts, accompanied him 
from Miisgrove's to Ninety Six the night after the battle, doubtless to notify Cruger of the 
disaster, and obtain reinforcements. 


; * 



I' I 




no rest while clangor lurkod in the way. Once or twice 
only they tarried a hrief period to feed tlieir faithful 
horses ; relyinj^f, for their own sustenance, on peaches and 
green corn — the latter pulled from the stalks, and eaten in 
its raw state as the}- took their turn on horse-back, or trotted 
on foot along the trail, and which, in their hungry condi- 
tion, they pronounced delicious. They were enabled, now 
and then, to snatch a' refreshing draught frotn the rocky 
streams which they forded. 

Late in the evening of the eighteenth, Ferguson's party 
reached the spot where the Whigs hud, less than thirty min- 
utes before, fed their weary liorses ; but not knowing how 
long they had been gone, and their own detachment being 
exhausted, they relinquished further pursuit. Not aware of 
this, the Americans kept on their tedious retreat all night, 
and the following day, passing the North IVger, and into 
the confmes of North Carolina — sixty miles from the battle- 
iield, and one hundred from Smith's Ford, from which they 
had started, without making a stop, save long enough to 
defeat the enemy at Musgrove's. It was a remarkable 
instance of unflagging endurance, in the heat of a south- 
ern summer, and encumbered, as they were, with seventy 
prisoners. No wonder, that after forty-eight hours of such 
excessive fadgue, nearly all the oflicers and soldiers became 
so exhausted, that their faces and eyes were swollen and 
bloated to that degree that they were scarcely able to see. 

Reaching the mountain region in safety, they met Colo- 
nel McDowell's party, considerably diminislied in numbers, 
as we may well suppose. Colonel Slielby, with the appro- 
bation of Major Robertson, now proposed that an army of 
volunteers be raised on both sides of the mountains, in suffi- 
cient numbers, to cope with Ferguson. All of the officers, 
and some of the privates, were consulted, and all heartily 
united in the propriety and feasibility of the undertaking. 
It was agreed that the Musgrove prisoners should be sent 
to a place of security ; that the over-mountain men should 



return home to recruit and strcngthtMi llieir numbers ; wliile 
Colonel McDowell should send an express to Colonels 
Cleveland and Ilerndon, of Wilkes, and Major Winston, of 
Surry, inviting and urging them to raise volunteers, and 
join in the enterprise ; and that Colonel McDowell should, 
furthermore, devise the best means to preserve the beef 
stock of the Whigs of the Upper Catawba valleys and 
coves, which would undoubtedly be an early object of Fer- 
guson's attention ; and McDowell was, moreover, to obtain 
information of the enemy's movements, and keep the over- 
mountain men constantly apprised of them.* 

As the term of service of their men having expired, 
Colonel Shelby and Major Robertson, with their Holston 
and Watauga volunteers, parted company with Colonel 
Clarke, leaving the prisoners in his charge, and took the 
trail which led to their homes over the Alleghanies. Colo- 
nels McDowell and Hampton, with their Burke and Ruth- 
erford followers, now less than two hundred in number, 
remained in the Gilbert Town region till forced back b}- the 
arrival of Ferguson shortly alter. Colonel Clarke, after 
continuing some distance on his route, concluded to take 
the mountain trails and return to Georgia, transferring the 
prisoners to Colonel Williams, who, with Captain Ham- 
mond, conducted them safely to Hillsboro. There, meeting 
Governor Rutledge, of South Carolina, who supposing 
Williams had the chief command of the expedition, as his 
report was so worded as to convey that idea, conferred on 
him as a reward for the gallant achievement, the commis- 
sion of a Briijadier-General in the South Carolina militia 
service, and, at the same time, promoted Captain Ham- 
mond to the rank of a Major. Rut Shelby, Clarke, Bran- 
don, Steen, McCall, McDowell, and Mcjunkin, wlio battled 
so manfully at Musgrove's, were kept in the back-ground, 
receiving no merited honors for their services and their suf- 

♦MS. Statements of Major Joseph McDowell, and Captain David Vance, preserved by 
the late Robert Henry, of Buncombe Co., N. C, and both participants in this expedition. 



fcririf^'s ; yet they, nevertheless, continued faithfully to serve 
their country without a murmur. 

Lord Cornvvallis, on the twenty-ninth of August, wrote 
to Sir Henry Clinton: "Ferguson is to move into Tryon 
count}' with some militia, whom he says he is sure he can 
depend upon for doing their dut}', and fighting well ; but I 
am sorry to say, that li.'s ozvn i\\pcricnct\ as well as that of 
every other othcer, is totally against him."* This is a tacit 
acknowledgment, that Ferguson's detachments were deci- 
dedly worsted in the several affairs at Cedar Spring, with 
Colonel Jones beyond the head-waters of Saluda, at Earle's 
Ford, near Wofford's Iron Works, and at Musgrove's. So 
good a judge of military matters as Lord Cornvvallis would 
not have made such a report, had not the disastrous results 
extorted the reluctant confession. 

Some comparison of the principal authorities consulted, 
which appear more or less contradictory in their character, 
ma}' not inappropriately be made in concluding this chap- 
ter. Dawson, vaguely referring to the Shelby statements, 
says they " difTer so much from the contemporary reports, 
that I have not noticed them." Colonel Shelby was in 
every sense a real hero in war, and the details he furnishes 
are no doubt reliable. But in after life, he appears, perhaps 
imperceptibly, little by little, to have magnified the num- 
bers, losses and prisoners in some of the contests in which 
he was engaged — notably so of the Musgrove affair. The 
venerable historian of Tennessee, Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey, 
states in a letter before the writer, that he closely followed 
a manuscript narrative of Governor Shelby in what he 
records of the battle at Musgrove's — the same that Hay- 
wood had used before him ; in which the British force is 
given as four or five hundred, reinforced by six hundred 
under Colonel Innes from Ninety Six, not, however, stating 
the strength of the Whigs ; that more than two hundred 
prisoners were taken, with a loss on the part of the victors of 
only six or seven killed. In his statement to Hardin, Colonel 

♦Correspondence of Connvallis. i, 58-59, 



Shelby puts botli the British and American strength at about 
seven huiuh'ed — the former reinforced by six or seven hun- 
dred more ; that over two hundred of the enemy were killed, 
and two hundred made prisoners, with a Whij^f loss of Cap- 
tain Tniiian and thirty others. Colonel Todd, in his sketch 
of his fatlier-in-law. Governor Shelby, <^ives the enemy's 
force at Musgrove's at five or six hundred, reinforced by 
six hundred under Innes ; but discards Shelby's exaggerated 
account of losses and prisoners, adopting McCall's instead. 
Colonel Williams' report, on the other hand, gives the 
American force at two hundred, and the British originally 
the same, rcinibrced by three hundred, killing sixty of the 
enemy, and taking seventy prisoners, while the Americans 
sustained a loss of onlv four killed, and seven or ei<rht 
wounded. Governor Abner Nash, of North Carolina, 
writing September tenth, 1780, says: "Colonel Williams, 
of South Carolina, two da3-s after this (Gates') defeat, with 
two hundred men, engaged four hundred of the British 
cavalry, in a fair open field light, and completely defeated 
and routed them, killing sixt3'-threc on the spot, and taking 
seventy-odd prisoners, mostly British." Orondates Davis, 
a prominent public character, writing from Halifax, North 
Carolina, September twenty-seventh, 17S0, states: "Colo- 
nel Williams, of South Carolina, three [two] days after 
Gates' defeat, fell in with a party of the enemy near Ninety 
Six, and gave them a complete drubbing, killing seventy 
on the spot, and taking between sixty and seventy prison- 
ers, mostly British, with the loss of four men only." These 
two statements, written, doubtless, on Williams' inf(>rm- 
ation, appear in the JVorth Carolina University Magazine 
for March, 1855. McCall speaks of the British force as 
three hundred and fifty, and the Americans about equal, 
stating the British loss at sixty-three killed, and one hun- 
dred and sixty w^ounded and taken, the Americans losing 
only four killed and nine wounded ; while Mills, who does 
not report the numbers engaged, gives the British loss at 




eighty-six killed, and seventy -six taken. Major James 
Sevier stated the Whiir force at two hinuhcd and lilly, as 
he learned it from iii.s neighbors who partieipaled in the 
action innnediately alter their return home ; and Major 
Mcjunkin placed the British strength at three hundred, and 
the Americans at half the number. 

Siielby's accounts, and those who follow them, give the 
date of the action as August nineteenth ; but the eighteenth 
has the weight of authority to sustain it — Williams' report. 
Governor Nash's letter, Si-ptember tenth, 1780, Ramsay's 
Rcvoliilion in South Carolina, '7^5' Moidtrie, Gordon, 
McCall, Mills, Lossing, O'Neall, and Dawson. 

A'tf/r— Authorities for the MiiSKrovu's Mill expedition: Colonel Williams' report 
which (ieneral Oates, September 5, 17S0, forwarded to the President of Congress, pnb- 
lishcil in rcnnsylvaniiX Packet, September 23, Massinliusetts S/>y, October u. London 
Chronicle, December 21, 1780, Scots' Mus'i^inc, December, 1780; Almon's Rtincmbyancer. 
xi, 87, and the substance, evidently communicated by Governor Rutledge, in Virginia 
dazctte, September 13, 1780. Ramsay's I\e\iolution, ii, 137: Moiilirie's Memoirs, ii, 220; 
Mackenzie's Strictures, 25-86; Fanninf^'s .XarratiTe, i:!-i3; Oordon's Hiatory, iii, 449; 
McCall's (7('ori'/(j, ii, 315-17, Shelby's accounts in Haywood's ienmssee, d^-dT, Ramsey's 
I'eniiessee. 217-19; American U'/iig A'ct/i'ki, December, 1848; Todd's memoir of Shelby 
in National Portrait Gallery, and in Western Monthly Magazine August 1836; llrca/oale's 
Li/e as it is, 51-52; Wheeler's North Carolina, 11,57-58, ito; Hunter's Sketches 1/ Western 
North Carolina, 337-39. Mills' Statistics, 255-56. 764; O'Neall's History Ne'.nlerry, 71, 265, 
312-13; Lossing's Field Book, ii, 444-45; Dawson's Battles, \, 620-22; Howe's History 
Presbyterian Church cf South Carolina, 526. MS, papers of Robert Henry. Also Sayc's 
Memoir 0/ Mcjiinkin, and Saye MSS; MSB of Dr. John H. Logan, furnishing many 
traditions from the Miisgrove family; Colonel William Mill's MS. Narrative of the Mus- 
grove atTair. derived ft om "an officer of high standing" who participated in the cng.ige- 
ment— the date and details going to show that Colonel Shelby was his authority: they 
had met on the King's Mountain campaign. Pension statement of Captain Joseph 
Hughes. MS. notes of conversations with M.njor James Sevier, son of Colonel John Sevier; 
also with Major Tliom.ns H. Shelby, son of Colonel Isaac Shelby, and Colonel George 
Wilson, of Tennessee. 

The pretended narrative of Colonel Samuel Hammond, in Johnson's Traditions, has 
not been relied on. It, for instance, refers to the express, who brought intelligence of 
Gates' defeat, also bringing news of Sumter's disaster at Fishing Creek, when, in fact, it 
did not occur, until several hours Inter of the same day, and in a distant county. Colonel 
Hammond, of course, never wrote anything of the kind. 




1780— Summer and Autumn. 

Incidents of the I'p-iountry. — M,tjor Edward Musc^rovc. — Paddy Carr 
and Ihahs Afus^/oxic. — 7 /it- S/oty of Mary Afiisi^roiu-. — Sainuci 
Cloiuncy's Adiunliirc. — W'illiain h',nnidy's I-'orays A}:;ainst the 
Tories. — foseph Ifiii^lies' Escape. — William .Sharp Baggini^ a 
Ihitish and Tory Tarty.— Tories' .Ittack on Woods, and hoxo dearly 
he sold his life. — Plundering .Sam. Iho'a'n. 

Sevoral intiTL'stin^f incidents transpired durini; the sum- 
mer and early autunui of 1780, in the region of the present 
counties of Laurens, Spartanburg, and Union, while Col<j- 
nel Ferguson yet held sway in that quarter. The more 
striking of them deserve to be preserved in the history of 
the times, as exhibiting something of the rancor and bitter- 
ness engendered by civil warfare. 

Edward Musgrove, whose name has been perpetuated 
by the battle just narrated, fought near his residence, was a 
native of England, and one of the earliest settlers of the 
upper country of South Carolina. lie had received a good 
education, and was bred to the law. Possessing line abili- 
ties, large hospitality and benevolence, he was a practical 
surveyor, giving legal advice, and drawing business papers 
for all who needed them, for many miles around. He was 
very popular, and exceedingly useful, in all the region, of 
which his noted mill on the Enoree was the center. 

Major Musgrove, for he bore that title, was a man a 
little above medium height, of slender lorm, prematurely 
gray, and possessed much lirmness and decision of charac- 
ter. He had passed the period of active life when the 
Revolutionary war commenced, and was then living with 
his third wife — too old to take any part in the bloody strife ; 







but with trembling lips, he plead each night for a speedy 
return of peace and good will among men. He lived to 
see his prayers answered, dying in 1792, in the sevent}'- 
sixth year of his age, and was buried in the little grave- 
yard, just behind the site of his house, near the old mill. 

Beaks Musgrove was a son of the Major's b}' his lirst 
wife. Partaking of the spirit of the times, and inspired by 
such British leaders as the Cunninghams and Colonel Fer- 
guson, he was induced to join the King's standard. Pat- 
rick Carr, better known as Paddy Carr, was one of the 
fearless Captains who served under Colonel Clarkt?, of 
Georgia. He had been an Indian trader on the front' ers of 
that Province, and wa.s, on occasion, quite as reckless and 
brutal as the worst specimens among the Red Men of the 
forest. Hunting for Beaks Musgrove, he suddenly darted 
into Major Musgrove's, at a moment when Beaks had come 
in to change his clothing, and get some refreshments, and 
had leaned his sword against the door-post, while his pretty 
sister, Mary, was engaged in preparing him a meal. Can- 
had dodged in so quietly and unexpectedly, that Beaks was 
taken entirely by surprise, and without a moment's notice 
to enable him to attempt his escape. 

"Are 30U Beaks Musgrove?" inquired Carr. 

" I am, sir," was the frank and manly reply. 

"You are the man, sir, I have long been seeking," was 
the stern response of the Whig Captain.. 

Mary Musgro/e, seeing the drawn sword of her brother 
in Carr's possession, earnestly inquired: "Are \'ou Paddy 


" I am," he replied. 

" I am I\Iary Musgrove, Mr. Carr, and you must not 
kill my brother, " at the same time imploringly throwing 
herself between them. 

Carr was evidently touched by the plea of artless beauty, 
and struck with young Musgrove's manliness and fine sol- 
dierly appearance, and said: " Musgrove, you look like a 
man who would fight." 



"Yes," responded MusgiX)ve, "there are circumstances 
under which I would do my best." 

" Had I come upon you alone," said Carr, "in possess- 
ion of your arms, would you have fought me? " 

"Yes — sword in hand," rejoined Musgrove. 

Carr seemed pleased with his new acquaintance, who 
was now so completely in his power, and boldly proposed 
to him to become a member of his scout at once, and swear 
never again to bear arms against the Americans. By this 
time, Carr's men, w^ho had been stationed in the cedar 
grove some distance from the house, came up, to observe 
what was transpiring, and, if need be, to render aid to their 

Mar}' Musgrove, seeing her brother disposed to accede 
to Carr's proposition, with a view, probably, of saving his 
life, still had her fears awakened for his safety, and boldly 
challenged the Captain's motives. "Captain Carr," she 
asked, " I hope you do not intend to persuade m}'^ brother 
to leave me, and then, when the presence of his sister is no 
longer a restraint, butcher him in cold blood — pledge me, 
sir, that such is not \our purpose." 

" I '11 swear it," replied Carr, solemnly. Beaks Mus- 
grove joined his part}', but at heart he was a Tory still. 
He, however, continued some time with Carr, constantly 
gaining upon that bold leader's confidence ; but there is no 
record or tradition tendin^j to show how long the native 
baseness of his heart permitted him to sustain his new char- 
acter. There is no evidence that he ever after be. e arms 
against his country- — perhaps he feared the terrible retribu- 
tion Carr would certainly have visited upon him, had 
he falsified the solemn oath he had taken. About the close 
of the war, ho quit the coimtry, and never returned. He 
left a son, who became a Baptist preacher, displaying, it is 
said, much of the eccentricity and acuteness o( the cele- 
brated Lorenzo Dow. 

By his second marriage, to a Miss Fancher, Major Mus- 


f !| 


i'l ' 



I '1 



grove had two dauglitors, Mar}- and Susan, aged respect- 
ively sonie twenty-five and twenty-three jears, at the period 
of the war troubles of 17S0-81 ; and both were akin to the 
angels in their unwearied acts of mercy to the wounded and 
the suflering in those trying times. They were young 
women of marked attractions, both of mind and bod}- ; 
Mary, cspecialh', was a young lady of rare beauty of per- 
son, possessing a bright intellect, and much energy of char- 
acter. She was the renowned heroine of Kennedy's popu- 
lar stor}- of *• Ilorse-Shoe Robinson;" and, in all the up- 
countr}' of South Carolina, he could not have chosen a more 
beaudful character in real life with which to adorn the 
charming pages of his historical romance. In Mary Mus- 
grove's case — 

" Dcmity unadorned is adorned the most." 
Both of these noble sisters fell early viciims to the con- 
simiption — Mary dying about one year, and Susan about 
two years, after the war — both unmarried, and both quietly 
repose in the little grave-yard beside their revered parents. 

When Mary Musgrove was about passing away, she 
selected her sister, and tl ree other young ladies of the 
neighborhood, to be her pall-bearers. Her body being verv 
light, they bore it to its final resting-place on silk handker- 
chiefs. Just as they were lowering the coflin into the grave, 
u kind-hearted lad\' present, the wife of a noted Tory, came 
forward to render some little assistance, when a member of 
the family, knowing Mary's devoted Whig principles, 
gently interposed and prevented it. Sucli was the tender 
respect shown to the memory of the worth}' heroine of the 

A remarkable adventure of Samuel Clowney will next 

* AmonR Dr. I.ogan''; MSS.. is an interesting statement, to which we are iiulchtcd for 
these particulars, from the late Captain P. Ri. Waters, son of Margaret Musgrove, the 
oldest daughter, by his last marriage, of Major Musgrove— a girl of twelve summers at the 
time of the memorable battle near her father's, in 17S0. She married I.adon Waters, and 
survived till 1834; and by her retentive memory these traditions, and several of those 
rel.ited in the preceding chapter, were preserved. 



demand our attention. He was a native of Ireland, and 
first settled on the Catawba river, in North Carolina, ilnally 
locating in South Carolina. He was a most determined 
Whig, and had joined Colonel Thomas at the Cedar Spring, 
earl}' in July. Obtaining with several others a brief leave 
of absence, to visit their friends, and procure a change 
of clothing, they set off f<ir the settlement on the waters 
of Forest, known as Ireland or the Irish Settle- 
ment, on account of the large number of settlers from 
the E'nerald Isle. On their route, the party left, with a 
Mrs. Foster, some garments to be washed, and appointed a 
particular hour, and an out-of-the-way place, where they 
should meet her, and get them, on their return to camp. 

In accordance with this arrangement, when the party 
reached Kelso's creek, about five miles from Cedar Spring, 
they diverged from the road through the woods to the ap- 
poiuied place, leaving Clowney, and a negro named Paul, 
to take charge of their horses until they should return with 
the washing. Present]}- five Tories, making their way to a 
Loyalist encampment in that quarter, came to the creek ; 
when Clowney, conceiving himself equal to the occasion, 
and giving the negro subdued directions of the part he was 
to act, yelled out in a commanding tone: "Cock your 
guns, boys, and tire at the word ; " and then advancing to 
the bank of the stream, as the Tories were passing through 
it, demanded who they were? Thev answered : "Friends 
to the King.'' To their utter astonishment, not dreaming 
of a Whig party in the country, they were peremptorily 
ordered by Clowney to come upon the bank, lay down their 
arms, and surrender, or "every b; gger of them would be 
instantly cut to pieces.'' Being somewhat slow in sliowing 
signs of yielding, Clowney sternly repeated his demand, 
threatening them, with his well-poised rifle, of the fatal 
consequences of disobedience ; when the terror-stricken 
Tories, believing that a large force was upon them, quietly 
surrendered without uttering a word. 

i I 



Paul took charije of their guns, when Clowney, giving 
some directions to his imaginary soldiers to follow in the 
rear, ordered tlie prisoners "right about wheel," when 
he marched them across the creek, directly before him, 
till he at length reached the rest of his party at Mrs. Foster's 
washing camp. They were then conducted to Colonel 
Thomas' quarters. The prisoners were not a little cha- 
grined, when they learned that their captors consisted of 
only two persons — one of whom was an unarmed negro. 
After arriving safely at Cedar Spring, his Colonel, when 
told that Clowney and the negro alone had captured the 
whole party, seemed at first a little incredulous that they 
could accomplish such a feat. 

"Why, Paddy," said the Colonel, "how did you take 
all these men?" 

''May it plase yer honor," he replied, exultingly, "by 
me faith, I surrounded them I " 

Clowney was a real hero. This achievement of his at 
Kelso's creek is well attested by man}- who knew him. 
One of h's acquaintances, in his terse way, described him 
as " a little dry Irishman ; " and though he belonged to the 
Presbyterian Church, like all of his Celtic race of that day, 
without being intemperate, he could not refrain from getting 
dry once in a while, and dearly loved "a wee bit of the 
crathure" occasionally. He possessed a remarkable talent 
for sarcasm and invective ; but he was, nevertheless, a most 
kind-hearted, benevolent man, greatly beloved by all who 
knew him. Ilis brogue wn'^ quite rich, and this, combined 
with a fund of genial Irisli wit, made him a fascinating 
companion. He died September twenty-seventh, 1824, in 
his eighty-second j-ear. His son, William K. Clowney, 
who was a graduate of South Carolina College, and became 
a prominent lawA'er, represented his native district four 
years in Congress.* 

* MS. I-ngan papers; MS. notes of conversations with Dr. Alexander Q. nradley, of 
Alabama, and deneral James K. Means, a son-in-law of Clowney'?, in 1871; Howe's ffis- 
ttiry 0/ Prcshytcriaii Church in South Carolina, 534-35: Dr. Moore's Life of Lacey 32. 



Five miles south of Unionville, in the present county of 
Union, was Fair Forest Shoal. There Colonel Thomas 
Brandon resided ; but his military position required his 
presenee elsewhere much of the time during tlie active 
period of the Revolution. His place, during his absence, 
was well t:upplied by a few resolute Whigs, among whom 
were old 'Squire Kennedy, his son William, Joseph Hughes, 
William Sharp, Thomas Young, Joseph Mcjunkin, and 
Christopher Brandon. 

Among these brave and active patriots, William Ken- 
nedy stood conspicuous. He was of French Huguenot 
descent — the race to which Marion belonged. He was tall, 
handsome, and athletic. His perception was quick, his 
sagacity equal to any emergency, and his ability sufficient 
for a great commander. But he persistently refused to 
accept any office, choosing ratlicr to serve as a common 
soldier. He was regarded as the best shot with his rifle of 
anv person in all that region. Whether on foot or horse- 
back, at half-speed or a stand-still, he was never known to 
miss his aim. His rifle had a peculiar crack when fired, 
which his acquaintances could recognize ; and when its 
well-known report was heard, it was a common remark — 
'* t/icrc /.s" a not her Tory less.''' 

Although he held no commission, yet the men of the 
neigliborhood acknowledged him as their leader when dan- 
ger was nigh, and their feet were ever in the stirrup at his 
bidding. His efforts were often called into requisition by 
the plundering excursions of the Tories sent out under the 
auspices of Ferguson, Dunlap, and their subordinate ofll 
cers. He and his comrades often saved their settlement from 
being over-run by these scouting parties. The crack of 
Kennedy's rifle was sure to be heard whenever a Tory was 
found ; and it was the well-known signal for his friends to 
hasten to his assistance. He seemed almost to "snuff the 
battle from afar;" and the flush of determination would suf- 
fuse his manlv countenance whenever he had reason to 
b<'lieve the enemy were near. 



m ■ :'=! 



ir .,*■.-« 




On one occasion, a British and Tory scouting party 
penetrated the settlement, and began their custoniar}' work 
of phindering the women and children ot" every thing they 
possessed, whether to eat or to wear. One of Kennedy's 
runners went to the hiding-place of Christopher I^randon 
and two companions — for they were, in the language of the 
times, out-lyers, and could not with safety stay at home for 
fear of being massacred by the Tories — and notified them 
of an enterprise on foot. They mounted their horses, and 
hastened at half-speed to the place of rendezvous. Pursu- 
ing an unfrequented cow-path through a dense forest, they 
stopped a moment at a small branch crossing their trail, to 
permit their jaded horses to quench their thirst, and then 
renew their journey. The crack of a rifle scattered the 
brains of one of Brandon's companions on his clothes and 
in his face, the same ball grazing his cheek, the dead body 
of the victim tumbling into the brook beneath. The two 
survivors put spurs to their horses, when more than a dozen 
rifles were fired at them from an unseen enemy behind the 
trees ; but they fortunately escaped uninjiu'ed. The Tory 
party had heard the galloping of the horses of Brandon and 
his friends, and laid in wait for them. 

Reaching the place of meeting, some fifteen or twenty- 
had assembled under their bold leader, Kennedy, and were 
ready for a hot pursuit. They overtook the Tory band a 
few minutes before sunset. They were plundering a house 
in a field a few rods from the public road ; and the Whig 
pursuers had their attention first attracted by the cries of the 
woman and her children. The Tories had a sentinel out- 
side, who fired as the Whigs came near ; and, on the alarm, 
those within instantly dashed out, mounted their horses, and 
fled. The Whigs divided, each pursuing his man at full 
speed. Kenned}' directed 3'oung Brandon, who was inex- 
perienced, to keep near him, and only fire when told to do 
so. The leader of the Tory party, w hose name was Neal, 
was the one singled out and pursued by Kennedy. lie fled 



through an open field, towards the woods, at some distance 
awa}' ; but Kenned}' kept the road, running nearly parallel 
with the fugitive, till he reached an open space in the hedge- 
row of bushes that had partially obstructed the view, when 
he suddenly called out whoa! to his horse, who had been 
trained instanth' to obe}' ; and, as quick as thought, the 
crack of Kennedy's rifle brouglit Neal tumbling to the 
groimd. He was stone-dead when Kennedy and Brandon 
came up, having been shot through the body in a vital part. 
The distance of Kennedy's fire was one hundred and forty 
yards. More than half of the Tory party was killed. 
"Not one was taken prisoner," as Brandon related the 
adventure in his old age, " for it occurred but seldom — our 
rifles usuallv saved us that trouble." Re-takin<jf the Tory 
booty, it was all faithfully restored to the distressed woman 
and children.* 

On the heights at Fair Forest Shoal was an old stockatle 
fort or block-house. Many tragic incidents occurred there, 
and in its nei<diborhood. A Tory, whose name has been 
forgotten, had, with his band, done much mischief in that 
region ; and, among other unpardonable sins, had killed 
one of William Kennedy's dearest friends. The latter 
learned that the culprit was within striking distance, and 
called his friends together, who went in search of him. 
The two parties met some two or three miles from the 
block-house, when a severe contest ensued. The Tories 
were routed ; and the leader, wlio was the prize Kenned}' 
sought, fled. Kennedy, Hughes, Sharp, Mcjunkin and 
others pursued. The chase was one of life or death. The 
Tory approached the bank of Fair Forest at a point, on a 
high bluff, where the stream at low water was perhaps 
twenty or thirty yards over, and quite deep. The fleeing 

*MS, notes of Hon. Daniel Wallace, communicated to William Gilmore Simms, the 
distinguished novelist and historian of South Carolina, and kindly furnished the writer by 
Mr. Simms' daughter, Mrs. Edward Roach, of Charleston. Mr. Wallace was a native of 
the up-country of South Carolina, and represented his district in Congress from 1S47 to 
1853. He died a few years since. 



Lo^^alist, hemmed around by his pursuers on t'^e bhifT, just 
where they aimed to drive him, hesitated not a moment, 
but spurred his horse, and phm<fed over the bank, and into 
the stream below — a Tearful leap. I lis pursuers followed, 
and at the opposite bank they made him their prisoner. 

Their powder being wet by its contact with the water, 
the}'^ resolved to take their captive below to the block-house 
and hang him. When they arrived there, the officer in 
command w^ould not permit him to be disposed of in that 
summary manner, but ordered him to be taken to Colonel 
Brandon's camp, a considerable distance away, to be tried 
by a court martial. Kennedy was placed at the head of the 
guard, but the Tory begged that Kennedy might not be 
permitted to go, as he apprehended he w^ould take occasion 
to kill him on the way. Evidently intending to make an 
etlbrt to escape, he did not wish the presence of so skillful 
a shot as Kennedy. Ilis request, however, was not heeded. 
He took an ear^/ occasion to dash oft' at full speed; but 
Kennedy's unerring rifle soon stopped his flight, and his 
remains were brought back to the foot of the hill, near the 
block-house, and there buried. The Tory's jjrave was 
still pointed out within a few years past.* 

The name of Joseph Hughes has been mentioned as one 
of the faithful followers of William Kennedy. Both were 
proverbially brave — Hughes was probably' the more reckless 
of the two — possessed more of a dare-devil character. 
Early one morning, he left his hiding-place, as one of the 
honored band of out-lycrs, who preferred freedom at \\\\y 
sacrifice rather than tamel}' yield to the oppression around 
them, and visited his humble domicile, to see his little family, 
residing on the west side of Broad river, near the locality 
of the present village of Pinckneyville. He approached his 
house cautiously on horse-back, and when within a rod, 
three Tories suddenly sprang out of the door, and present- 
ing their guns, said exultingly : — 

* Wallace Manuscript. 




•'You d — (I Rebel, you are our prisoner! " 

" You are d — d liars I " defiandy yelled Hughes, as he 
instandy spurred his horse to his full speed. As he cleared 
the gate at a single leap, all three fired, but missed their 
mark, and he escaped without a scratch. Those Tories had 
watched for him all night, and had just entered the house to 
get their breakfast as he rode up. They were naturally 
quite chop-fallen, when, having taken so much pains to 
secure so plucky an enemy of the King, they found them- 
selves, in the end, so completel}- foiled in their purpose.* 

On another occasion, when a scouting party of British 
and Tories was passing through what is now Union County, 
committing robberies, as was their wont, when they little 
suspected it, their footsteps were dogged by William Sharp, 
one of Kennedy's fearless heroes, with two associates. At 
Grindal Shoals, a notable ford of Pacolet, they came upon 
the enemy. It was in the night, and \ery dark, which con- 
cealed their numbers, and favored their daring enterprise. 
The first intimation the British and Tories had of danger, 
was a bold demand on the part of Sharp and his associates 
for them to siu'render instantly, or the}' would be blown into 
a region reputed prett}' hot. In the surprise of the moment, 
they begged for quarter, and laid down their arms, to the 
number of twenty. The victors threw their guns into the 
river, before their prisoners discovered their mistake, and 
drove the captives to the nearest Whig encampment in that 
region, f 

In a quiet nook in Spartanburg lived a man named 
Woods — on one of the Forks of Tyger, we believe. He 
was not known as particularly demonstrative or combative 
among his neighbors, but was a true patriot, and unflinch- 
ing in times of danger. One day, when at home with his 
wife, he found his house surrounded In' a party of deter- 
mined Tories. Seeing so overwhelming a superiority of 

* Wallace Manuscript, 
t Wallace Manuscript. 

» ;i^ 


;(' i 

ti i 







numbers against him, Woods, who had closed his house 
against them, proposed if tliey would, in good faith, agree 
to spare his own and wife's lives, they might come in un- 
opposed, and take whatever they wanted, otherwise, as he 
had two guns, he would sell his life as dearly as possible. 
They would make no promises, but demanded an uncon- 
ditional surrender. Woods commenced the unequal battle, 
availing himself of a crack between his house-logs, which 
served him as a port-hole, and kept up a brisk liring, his 
heroic wife loading his guns for him as fast as either was 
empty, till he had killed three of his assailants. They now 
becanie more desperate than ever, and, through the same 
crack, managed to send a ball which broke Mrs. Woods' 
arm. In the confusion of the moment, while Woods was 
assisting his wife, the Tories seeing his fire had slackened, 
rushed up to the door which they battered down, and cap- 
tured the intrepid defender. They took him a lew rods 
away, into a copse of wood, where they soon beat him to 
death with clubs. Mrs. Woods was spared, and recovered.* 
In what was originally' a part of Tryon, now Lincoln 
County, North Carolina, were many Loyalists. Among 
them was Samuel Brown, who had been reared there, and 
proved himself not only an inveterate Tory, but a bold and 
unscrupulous plunderer. lie had a sister, Charit\- Brown, 
who must have been a rough, reckless, bad woman. For 
quite a period, the two carried on very successful plunder- 
ing operations — including horses, bed-clotbes, wearing ap- 
parel, pewter-ware, mone}^ and other valuable articles. 
Sometimes they had confederates, but oftener they went 
forth alone on their pillaging forays. About fifteen miles 
west of Statesville, North Carolina, three miles above the 
Island Ford, there is a high bluff' on the western side of the 
Catawba river, risin?^ three hundred feet high, at a place 
known as the Look-Out Shoals. About sixty feet from the 

*MS. notes of conversations, in 1871. with Major A. J. Wells, of Montcvallo, Alabama, 
a native of Spartanburg County. South Carolina. 



base of this blufT, under an over-hani^infr clitr, was a cave 
of considerable dimensions, sutTicienl to accommodate sev- 
eral persons, but the opening to which is now partially 
closed by a mass of rock sliding down from above. This 
cave was the depository for the plunder taken by stealti^ or 
violence from the poverty-stricken j^eople in the country for 
manv miles around ; for Uieir depredations extended from 
the Shallow Ford of Yadkin to the region embracing the 
several counties of the north-western portion of South Caro- 

Sam Brown was once married to the daugbtev of a man 
residing near the Island Ford, but his wife, disliking the man, 
or his treatment of her. left him and returned to her father; 
and in revenge for harboring and protecting her. Brown 
went one night and killed all his father-in-law's stock. A 
poor old blind man, named David Beard, living on Fourth 
creek, near wbat is now called Beard's bridge, about seven 
miles east of Statesville, had a few dollars in silver laid up, 
which Brown unfeelingly filched from him. Beard re- 
proached him for his wrongs and cruelties, and reminded 
him that he woidd have a hard account to render at the day 
of judgment for robbing a person in his poor and helpless 

"It's a long trust," retorted Brown; "but sure pay," 
promptly rejoined Beard. 

So notorious had become the robber's achievements, 
that he was known in all that region as Pliindcn'n^- Sam 
Droivn. Among the Tories, he was designated as Captain 
Sam Brown. As early as the Spring of 1778, he was 
associated with the Tory leader, David Fanning ; and they 
were hiding in the woods together on Reaburn's creek, in 
now Laurens County, South Carolina, for the space of six 
weeks, living entirely upon what they killed in the wilder- 
ness, without bread or salt. There were too many watchful 
Whigs in this region to suit Brown's notions, so he wended 
his way to Green river, in what is now Polk County, in the 
south-western part of North Carolina. 



The advent of Colonel Ferjfuson to the up-cfintry of 
South Carolina proved a perfect God-send to siiel .lened 

wretches as Brown. They could now di^Miify thei. plunder- 
ing with the sanction of his iMajesty's faithful servant;-, 
Colonel Ferguson, Colonel Iinies, and Major Dunlap. To 
such an extent had the people of the Spartanburg region 
been raided and over-run, during the summer of 1780, by 
these persistent pillagers, that the men had been conijH'lled 
to fly to the distant bodies of Whigs under McDowell or 
Sumter, or become out-lyers in the wilderni'ss. This left 
a comparatively open field for the nuu'auders, and they 
were not slow to avail themselves of it. Captain Brown 
and his followers made frequent incursions in that quarter. 
He ventured, on one otjcasion, to the house of Jot' di Cul- 
bertson, on Fair Forest, acciMup-uiied by a singU ')ciate 
named Butler, and inquired of Mrs. Culbertson f hus- 

band. But this young woman, the daughter of the heroic 
Mrs. Colonel Thomas, gave him some pretty curt and un- 
satisfactcjry answers. Brown became very much provoked 
by this spirited woma.), and retorted '"n much abusive and 
indecent language ; assuring her, furthermore, that he 
would, in a few days, return with his company, lay her 
house in ashes, kill her husband, and plunder and murder 
the principal Whigs of the neighborhood. After a good 
deal of longuc lashings and bravado of this character, 
Brown and Butler rode off, leaving Mrs. Culbertson to 
brood over her painful apprehensions. 

Brown's cup of iniquity was running over, and the day 
of retribution was at hand. Fortunately^ Culbertson re- 
turned home that night, accompanied by a friend, Charles 
Ilolloway, who was as brave and fearless as himself. The 
story of Brown's visit, his threats and insolence, very 
naturally roused Culbertson's feelings — indignation and re- 
sentment pervaded his whole nature. Beside this disgrace- 
ful treatment of his wife. Brown had apprehended the elder 
Colonel Thomas, the father of Mrs. Culbertson, soon after 

ir 1 
I ' .1 



the fall of Charleston, am! carried him, two of his sons, 
and his ncffroes and horsos, to the liritish, at Ninety Six. 
Culhertson deti'rmined to capturi' the redoubtahli' plun- 
derer, or rid the coinitry of so gn-at a scourge. Ilolloway 
was equ.'dly ready for tiie enterprise. 

Early the next morning, reinforced by William Neel, 
William Mcllhaney, and one Steedman,* they followed the 
tracks of the two marauders some ten or twelve miles, when 
they discovered Brown's and Hutler's horses in a stable on 
the road-side, belonging to Dr. Andrew Tliompson, in the 
region of Tvger river, when- they had stopped for rest and 
refreshment. Culbertson's party now retraced their steps 
some distance, hitched their horses out of sight, and crept 
up within shot of Thompson's, posting themselves behind 
the stable, and eagerly watched the appearance of the Tory 
free-booters. At length Brown stepped out of the house 
into the yard, followed b}- Butler; and as the Tory Captain 
was enjoying lazily a rustic yawn, with his hands locked 
over his head, he received a shot from Culbertson's deadly 
rifle, at a distance of about two hundred yards. The ball 
passed directly through his body, just below his shoulders, 
and making a desperate bound, he fell dead against the door- 
yard fence. Ilolloway ''s fire missed Butler, the ball lodging 
in the door-jamb, just behind him ; but without waiting to 
learn the fate of his leader, or to secure his horse, he fled 
to the woods and escaped. Brown was an active, shrewd, 
heartless man — the terror of women and children wherever 
his name was known. Butler, it is believed, took the hint, 
and never re-appeared in Spartanburg. 

One tradition has it, that Brown's life of robbery and 
out-la wry commenced even before the Revolution, which 
may very well have been so. The amount of money cou- 
sin a MS. letter of Colonel Elijah Clarke to General Sumter, October 29th, 1780. occurs 
this statement : " I am to inform you, that the 'l'orii:s killcil Captains Hampton and Stid- 
man, at or near Fair Forest " —the latter, perhaps, the associate of Culhertson, in his suc- 
cessful foray against Hrown, and for that very reason he probably lost bis life, in retaliation, 
on the part of Brown's friends. 





cealed by him was supposed to be large — the fruits of his 
predator}^ life ; anil frequent searches have been made to 
find the hidden treasure. In his secluded cave, he kept a 
mistress, but she professed ignorance of his localities of de- 
posit. A small sum only has been discovered by accident. 
The probabilities are, he never accumulated much money, 
as the frontier people whom he plundered were poor, and 
but little specie was in circulation beyond the immediate 
neighborhood of the British troops. 

After the de.'ith of her despicable brother, poor Charity 
Brown fled westward to the mountain region of what is now 
Buncombe and Haywood, and before her death, it is related, 
she made some revelations wdiere to find valuables buried in 
the vicinity of the cave at the Look-Out Shoals ; rnd among 
articles subsequently discovered, were twelve sets of pewter- 
ware, which had been concealed in a large hollow tree. 
This, in the course of* time, had been blown down by the 
wind, and thus revealed this long hidden booty of the rob- 
bers of the Catawba. It is currently stated by the super- 
stitious of that region, that when one comes near the cave, 
and tries to bring his balteau to land at the base of the clitf, 
he hears a fearful noise — not proceeding from the cave, so 
far above the water, but from the rock at the bottom. 

However this mav be, Culbertson and Mollowav. after 
their successful work at Thompson's, deliberately wiped 
their guns, reloaded them, and were again prepared for any 
piirilous adventiu'e. Not very long after Brown's death, 
which was a r.ource of rejoicing among the Whigs in all 
that region, Culbertson received word, that a noted Tory, 
whom he knew, then in North Carolina, threatened to kill 
him, in retaliation for Brown's death. They met one dajj^ 
unexpectedly, and instanUy recognized each other, when 
both fired their rifles almost simidtaneouslv ; Culbertson's 
cracked a moment first — the Tory fell dead, while the Whig 
rifleman escaped unhurt. 

Such sanguinary relations of civil warfare make one's 



blood almost curdle in the veins. The unmerciful conduct 
ol'Tarleton at Buford's defeat, had engendered a feeling of 
savage furv on the part of the Whigs, and as bitterly recipro- 
cated on the part of the Tories, whicli, in time, amounted 
to the almost utter refusal of all quarter. So that in the 
CaroHnas and Georgia, the contest became, to a fearful 
extent, a war of ruthless bloodshed and extermination.* 
General Greene, a few months later, wrote thus freely of 
these hand-to-hand strifes: "The animosit}-,'' he said, 
"between tlie Whigs and Tories, rendered their situation 
truly deplorable. Tliere is not a day passes but there are 
more or less who fall a sacritice to this savage disposition. 
The Whigs seem determined to extirpate the Tories, and 
Uie Tories the Whigs. Some thousands have fallen in this 
vay in this quarter, and the evil rages with more A'iolence 
than ever. If a stop can not be put to these massacres, the 
country will be depopulated in a few months more, as 
neither Whig nor Tory can live."f 

*The authorities for the story of Plundering Sam lirown are : Fanning's Narrative; 
obituary notice of Josiah Culburtson. in the Wasliingtoii. Indiana. Weekly Register, Octo- 
ber 17th, 1839, with comments thereon, ^y Major Mcjunkin, preserved among the Saye 
MSS.; Ex-Governor H. F. Perry's sketch of Culbertsun. in the Orion Magazine, June. 
1S44; Johnson's TraJifioiis, 423; and sketch of Sam lirown. by Kev. E. R. Rockwell, of 
North Carohna, in the Historical Magazine, October, 1873. 

t Greene'; ti/a 0/ Greene, iii, 227. 






August, 1780— March, 1781. 

Cormvallis Han^iug Propcnsil/rs. — Sumter a thorn in his Lordship's 
side. — Dispersion of Whig Bands. — Ferguson s Success in Training 
the Loyal Militia. — Action of the Alarmed Tory Ij;adcrs. — In-rguson 
Moves into Tryon County. — Colonel Graham Repels a Party of Plun- 
derers. — Ruse for Saving Whig Stock. — Mrs. Lytic and her Beaver 
Hat. — Engagement on Cane Creek, and Major Dunlap ivounded. — 
Apprehension of Jonathan Hampton. — Dunlap' s Insolence. — Sketch 
of Dunlap' s Career and Death. 

Lord Cornvvallis' success at Camden had, like the 
mastilT fed on meat and blood, made him all the more 
fierce for further strife and carnafje. Two days after 
Gates' defeat, his Lordship wrote to Lieutenant-Colonel 
Cruger, at Ninet}' Six : "I Lave given orders that all the 
inhabitants of this Province, who had submitted, and who 
have taken part in this revolt, should be punished with the 
greatest rigor ; that they should be imprisoned, and their 
whole property taken from them or destroyed ; I have like- 
wise directed that compensation should be made out of 
their effects to the persons who have been plundered and 
oppressed b}' them. I have ordered, in the most positive 
manner, that every militia man who had borne arms with 
us, and had afterwards joined the enemy, shotihl be iniiiic- 
dialcly hono-ed. I have now, sir, only to desire that you 
will take the most vigorous measures to extinguish the 
rebellion, in the district in which you command, and that 
you will obe}', in the strictest manner, the directions I have 
given in this letter, relative to the treatment of the country."* 

*This is the l.inguagc of his Lordship's letter to LiciiteiiantColonel Cnigcr, as Rivtii in 
the Cornwallis' Corresfomience, i, 56-57. His Lordship scciris to have eiiiiivocatcd about 



These sanguinary orders were, in man}- cases, most faith- 
fully obeyed — Tarleton, Rawdon, Balfour and Browne, par- 
ticularly demonstrating their fitness for carrNing into eftect 
these tyrannical measures. 

Sumter, by his pluck}- and frequent attacks on several 
British detachments, had proved himself a thorn in his 
Lordship's side. He had made a bold push against Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Turnbull at Rocky Mount ; then practically 
defeated Major Garden and the Tor}^ Colonel Bryan, at 
Hanging Rock ; and fmally captured Fort Carey, and a 
large convoy, below Camden. These were audacious 
things to do, evincing great contempt of his Majesty's 
Government, and of his Lordship's power and consideration 
in the Province. 1 urnbull, after Sumter's attack, had re- 
tired to Ferguson's quarters, on Little river ; and Ferguson 
meanwhile, had pushed further north to the Fair Forest 
region. On his great victory over Gates, Cornwallis direc- 
ted Turnbull and Ferguson to immediately put their corps 
in motion, and push on, if possible, to intercept Sumter's 
retreat towards No' th Carolina with his prisoners and spoils 
of victory. Tarleton was also sent in his pursuit, overtak- 
ing and surprising him at the mouth of Fishing creek, onlv 
two da3s after Gates' melancholy disaster near Camden. 

As we hear nothing more of Turnbull in the Ninety Six 
region, it is to be presumed that he was, not long afte/, 
recalled to the eastern part of South Carolina. The orders 
of Lord Cornwallis, which must have reached Colonel Fer- 
guson shortly after die affair at Musgrove's Mill, seem to 
have set that officer's forces in motion. After driving 
Clarke, Shelby, and Williams out of the Province, it only 
remained to pay his attention to McDowell's party, at 
Smith's Ford, on Broad river. On receipt of General Cas- 
well's letter, announcing the disaster of Gates, and advising 

3 '-hV 

the subject-matter of this letter; Init lie wrote a similar one, the same mouth, fully as 
hlooil thirsty in its tone, to Lieutenant-Colonel Balfour, which is given in Sparks' If^ash- 
ington, vii, 555-6. 





the iiulependGnt detiiclinicnts to retire beyond the reach of 
the victorious l>ritish, IvIcDoweirs force mosll}- disbanded 
and scattered — some of them, perhaps, hke Shelby's men, 
because their term of service had expired ; while others, it 
may be, like Clarke's Georgians, because they were volun- 
teers at pleasure. What was left of McDowell's command 
— less than two hundred, apparently —retired to their own 
mountain region of North Carolina, in the counties of 
Rutherford and Burke. 

That Ferguson, during the period he held command in 
the up-country, had been both imliring and successful, is 
well attested by a report of Lord Cornwallis to the 1 lome 
Government, August twentieth, 1780: "In the district of 
Ninety Six," says his Lordship, "by far the most populous 
and powerful of the Province, Lieutenant-Colonel Balfour, 
by his great attention and diligence, and b}- the active 
assistance of Major Ferguson, who was appointed Inspector- 
General of the militia of this Province by Sir Henry Clin- 
ton, had formed seven battalions of militia, consisting of 
abo\e four thousand men, and entirely composed of persons 
well-affected to the British Government, which were so 
regulated, that they could, with ease, furnish fifteen hundred 
men, at a short notice, for the defense of the frontier, or 
any other home service. But I must take this opportunity 
of observing, that this militia can be of little use for distant 
military operations, as they will not stir without a horse ; and, 
on that account, your Lordship will see the impossibility of 
keeping a number of them together without destroying the 
coimtry." Turning their horses into ili>kls of grain, and eat- 
ing out one settlement, they w'ould soon necessarily have 
to remove to another. 

Only five days before the action at Musgrove's, while 
Ferguson and his troops were encamped at Fair Forest 
Shoal, in Brandon's Settlement, an important meeting 
was held there by the Loyalist ofllcers and their men. 
The North Carolina battalion under Colonel Ambrose Mills, 



and the six South Carolina battalions — Cunningham's, Kirk- 
land's, Clary's, King's, Gibbs' and Plumnicr's were there in 
camp, while Lieutenant-Colonel John Philips, battalion, and 
another, were stationed at Edward Mobley s settlement, in 
the adjoining county of Fairiield, some twenty-tive miles 
distant. All the Colonels seem to have been absent — Clary 
at Musgrove's ; but all the battalions were represented at 
the meeting. Lieutenant-Colonel Philips, Lieutenant-Colo- 
nel W. T. Turner, Majors Daniel Plummer, Zachariah 
Gibbs. and John Hamilton, and x\djutant Thomas D. Hill, 
Jr., being present. 

These Loyalist chiefs, who had flattered themselves that 
the Rebellion was, to all intents and purposes, quelleil, and 
that the}- would soon be made lords and masters over the con- 
quered communities, now began to realize that the Whigs of 
the country would not "down" at their bidding — that Sum- 
ter, Marion. McDowell, WMliams, Shelby, Clarke, Thomas, 
lirandon, Mcjunkin, and other leaders, were in arms, boldly 
attacking Tory parties whenever they could meet them on 
an3-thing like an equal footing. The Loyal militia, when 
danger began to stare them in the face, showed signs of 
weakening and lagging. It was, therefore, hnportant, as 
"the Rebels were again in the field." as they expressed it, 
that they should provide severe punishments for all of their 
Loyalist delinquents; that their horses, cattle, grain, aaid 
arms should be forfeited, and they should bo brought to 
trial, and punished in person as they deserved. They 
furthermore gave it as their imanimous expression, that 
whoever should act a treacherous part bv abandoning the 
Royal cause, desertmg his battali<jn, or disobeying the 
orders of his comnuuuling ollicers, is a worse enemy to the 
King and country than even the Rebels themselves, and 
that all good Loyalists should assist in the defense of the 
country, and that whoever neglects to assemble, and do 








service in the Loyal militia, should be made to serve in the 
regular army.* 

Lord Cornwallis, on the twenty-ninth of August, an- 
nounced to Sir IIenr\- Clinton: "Ferguson is to move 
into Tr3-on county with some militia, whom, he says, he 
can depend upon for doing their duty and fighting well ; 
but I am sorry to say that his own experience, as well as 
that of every other officer is totally against him." It is not 
a little singular, that his Lordship, with his poor opinion of 
the fighting qualities of the Tories, should have ordered 
Ferguson so far Heyond the reach of succor, in case of 
danger. As he could not spare any detachment of regulars 
to give them countenance, he probably hoped that the 
Whigs were so far cowed and dispersed, that they would 
not give Ferguson any serious opposition. 

As McDowell, Clarke, Shelby, and Williams had retired 
to the back parts of North. Carolina, Ferguson, after awhile, 
followed into that quarter. His detachments, however, 
during the heats of summer, performed many of their move- 
ments at night, and kept beating about in various direc- 
tions, sometimes in the North Province and sometimes in 
the South, in search of prominent Whig leaders, over-awing 
all opposition, pluiuioring whenever they found anything 
which they needed or coveted, and administering the oath 
of allegiance to all who would take it, with liberal tenders 
of pardon to those who had been active and prominent par- 
ticipators in the rebellion. Many submissions were made ; 
but oftener, when Ferguson's and Dunlap's parties would 
call for the head of a Whig family, he was pretty certain, 
nine cases out of ten, not to be found at home — where he 
was, his wife and children could not say, for, in truth, they 
seldom knew, for the patriots and out-lyers beat about quite 
as much as those in quest of them. 

In consequence of this state of affairs, the old people, 

*MS. record obtained by Colonel Sevier from a Tory Colonel at King's Mountain, as 
given in Ramsey's Tennessee, 216-17. 



together witli the women and children, would frequently 
gather at the strongest and largest house in their region, 
taking with them all their arms, ammunition, and sucli housi;- 
hold goods as they needed, or cou d not conceal, with some- 
times a few men in vigorous life f )r their protection. Such 
a gathering in Colonel Wiliiam Graham's neighborhood 
took place at his residence, near the west bank of Buflalo 
creek, in then Lincoln, now Cleveland county, about eight 
miles north of King's Mountain, and about seven miles 
south-east of the present village of Shelby. It was a large, 
hewn-log-house, weather-boarded, and, to some extent, forti- 
fied ; well fitted for a successful defence against any party 
with small arms alone, and who were not prepared to prose- 
cute a regular siege. 

Sometime in September, one of these Tory marauding 
parties, consisdng of about twenty-three in number, sud- 
denly made their appearance before Graham's Fort. The 
onl}' persons there capable of bearing arms, lor the defence 
of the man}' helpless people, old and yoimg, congregated 
there, were Colonel Graham, David Dickey, and the Colo- 
nel's step-son, William Twitty, a brave youth of nineteen ; 
but the}- were fearless and vigilant. The Tory party 
demanded admittance, but were promptly refused by Colo- 
nel Graham and his associates. A warm attack \\ as com- 
menced, the Tories firing several volleys, without doing 
mucli damage, yelling out at tiie top of their voices, after 
each discharge, "d — n you, wont you surrender now?'' 

One fellow, John Burke, more venturesome than the 
rest, ran up to the house, and through a crack aimed at 
young Twitty, when Susan Twitty, the sister of the }"oung 
soldier, seeing his peril, jerked her brother down just as 
the gun fired, the ball penetrating the opposite wall. She 
then looked out of the aperture, and saw Burke, not 
far olT, on his knees, re-loading for anotlier fire ; and 
quickly comprehending the situation, exclaimed: "brother 
William, now's vour chance — shoot the rascal ! " The next 











\ ' 





■fi 1 





insUmt young Tvvitty's gun ciacked, and the bold Tory was 
shot through the head. So eager was Miss Twitty to ren- 
der the good cause any service in her power, that she at 
once unbarred tiie door, darted out, and brought in, amid 
a shower of Tory bullets, Burke's gun and ammunition, as 
trophies of victory. She fortunately escaped unhurt. It 
was a heroic act for a voun<j <;irl of seventeen.* LosiniT 
one of their number killed, and three wounded, the Tories 
at length beat a retreat. Anticipating that the enemy, 
smarting imdcr their repulse, would return with increased 
nunjbers. Colonel Graham and friends retired to a more dis- 
tant place of safety, when a large Tory party re-appeared, 
with no one to oppose them, and plundered the house of 
clothing and other valuables, and carried olT six of Colo- 
nel Graham's negroes. f 

Another instance where a party of the enemy fared no 
better, occurred during the Tory ascendency in 1780. 
Adam Reep, a staunch Whig, returning home, after a tour 
of service under Colonel Graham, to visit his famih', on the 
western bank of the Catawba river, in Lincoln Countv, 
had scared}' reached his humble domicile, when a party of 
ten or twelve Tories, under the leadership of a British offi- 
cer, made their appearance just at the gray of the evening. 
Reep, who, like a good minute man, was always on the 
watch, had bareh- time to close and bar his doors, when he 
mounted his ladder with his faithful rifle ; and through some 
port-holes in the loft of his house, he blazed away at his 
enemies, wounding two of them, when the part}- fell back 

* This noble heroine suliseqiiently married John Miller, and died the 14th of April. 1825, 
at the age of sixty-two years. Her son, Hon. W.J. T. Miller, represented Rutherford 
County, in the Legislature of North Carolina, in 1836-40, and subsequently Cleveland 
County, it was organized, and where he still resides an honored and useful citizen. 

Mrs. Miller's brother, William Twitty, who aided so gallantly in the defense of (Jr.i- 
ham's Fort, was born in South Carolina, July i3tli, 1761; he served at King's Mountain, 
and lived atTwitty's Ford, on Broad river, where he died February 2d, 1816, in his fifty- 
fifth year. He has njany worthy decendants. among them William L. and Dr. T. B. Twitty, 
grands<ins, the latter residing at the old homestead. 

t MS. pension statement of Colonel Ciraham, and MS. correspondence of Hon. W. J. 
T. Miller, William L. Twitty, and Dr. T. U. Twitty. 



to a safer distance, and finally retired with their disabled 

Colonel Ferguson encamped awhile at Gilbert Town, 
some three miles north of the present village of Rutherford- 
ton. For m; ny miles around people wended their way to 
the head-quarters of this noted representative of the British 
crown; thinking, as Charleston had fallen, Gates been 
defeated, Sumter surprised and dispersed, and the various 
detachments latel}' in force in the Sj^artanburg region were 
disbanded or scattered, that the Whig cause was now utterly 
prostrate and hopeless. Many of those who now took the 
oath of allegiance to the British Government, subsequently 
excused their conduct on the plea that the countrj' was over- 
run, and that this was the only course by which the}' could 
save their property, secure themselves and families from 
molestation, and at the same time preserve the stock of the 
country for tlie supply of the needy patriots thereafter. 

While in this mountain region, Ferguson found he had 
a case of small-pox developing itself. It was one of his 
officers, who was left in a deserted house, taking his favor- 
ite charger with him. And there the poor fellow died in 
this lonely situation ; and it is said his neglected horse ■ 
lingered around till he at length died also. It was a long 
time before an}- of the country people would venture to 
visit the solitary pest-house — 

"And there lay the rider, distorted and pale, 
With the dew on his hrow and the rust on his mail." 

Finall}^ some one ventured there and carried off the sword, 
liolsters, and pistols, selling them to John Ramsour, who 
gave tliem, nearl}^ thirty years after, to Michael Reinhardt.f 
Ferguson led a detachment to surprise Colonel McDow- 
ell at the head of Cane creek. An engagement took place 
with McDowell's troops, who had been beating about the 

■* MS. stntement of W. M. Reinhardt. Esq.. of LIncolnton, North Carolina, who many 
years ago had the facts from Reep himself. 

IMS. statement of W. M. Reinhardt, son of Michael, who yet preserves these relics 
•if a century ago. 




mountain country, since retiring (Votn Smith's Ford on 
Broad river, and were now retreating- towards the Watauga 
in East Tennessee. The Britisli force encamped at the noted 
White Oak Spring, a mile and a half east of the present 
village of Brindletown, in Uie south-eastern part of Burke 
County as now constituted, and on the direct road from 
Morganton to Gilbert Town. McDowell leaniing their 
position, and too weak to meet the enemy on anything like 
equal terms, concluded to waylay them on renewing their 
southward march. lie, therefore, selected a litting spot for 
an ambuscade at Bedford's Hill, some three miles south- 
west of Brindletown, in the south-eastern corner of 
>rcDowell County, and something like llfteen miles from 
Gilbert Town. This hill was a small round elevation about 
a quarter of a mile from the base of the South Mountains 
then covered with timber and surrounded by a soft swamp ; 
located on the eastern side, and just below, the Upper 
Crossing of Cane creek, now known as Cowan's Ford — 
which ford the hill commanded. If forced to retire, the 
Whigs had an easv access to the mountains close bv, where 
they would be safe against almost any force that the enemy 
• could send against them. 

Here McDowell's part}' awaited the coming of the British 
force, and, as they were passing the ford, an indecisive fight 
transpired. The enemy, after receiving the unexpected 
tire of McDowell's backwoodsmen, rallied, and beat back 
the Americans, killing, among others, one Scott, of Burke 
Count}', while standing beside the late James Murphy, of 
that region. B\' the heroic efforts especially of Major 
Joseph McDowell — the Colonel's brother. Captain Thomas 
Kennedy, and one McKay, the Whigs were again brought 
into action. Major McDowx^ll was particularly active, 
swearing roundly that he would never yield, nor should his 
Burke boys — appealing to them to stand by and die with 
him, if need be. B}- their united bravery and good bush- 
whacking management, in which their real wick«f4ness was 



concealed, and by their activity and well directed rifle-sliois 
they succeeded in inllictinir considerable execution on tlieir 
antaj^onists — killing several, and, among others, wounding 
Major Dunlap. The British now retired to Gilbert Town, 
conveying their disabled commander with them, who was 
severely wounded in the leg; while McDowell's parly, 
numbering about one hundred and sixty only, directed their 
retreat up the Catawba valley, and over the mountains, 
for the friendly Watauga setUements. 

Qiiite a number of human bones were brought to light, 
some fort}' years ago, at the point where this Cane creek 
fight occurred — the remains of the British and Tories who 
fell in this spirited contest. This action occurred, according 
to Lieutenant Allaire's MS. Diary, on the twelfth of Sep- 
tember ; and had its influence, as the sequel will show, in 
rousing the people over the mountaius, as well as in Wilke . 
and Surry, to embody under their gallant leaders, and strike 
a decisive blow against the bold invader, Ferguson.* 

It has been stated, near the close of the chapter on the 
Musgrove's Mill expedition, that Shelby and his associates 
on that service had agreed, that as soon as they could col- 
lect the necessary force, they would embody their several 
detachments, and attack Ferguson. It was correctly antici- 
pated that so soon as that British leader and his forces 
should exhaust the beef supply in the Spartanburg region. 
he would be quite certain to advance into Rutherford and 
Burke Counties, in Nordi Carolina, where, in the latter 
especially, diere were large stocks of fine cattle ; and it was 

*MS. letter of Colonel Isaac T. Avery, October 19th, i860, to Hon. D. L. Swain; MS. 
pension statements if General Thomas Kennedy, Colonel William Graham, James r>lair, 
William Walker, and Matthew Knykendall; General Lenoir's Account 0/ King s Mountain. 
appended to this volume; MS. correspondence of Colonel S. McDowell Tate, of Morganloii ; 
T. A. Lewis, of Rrindletown; M. O. Oickerson and A D. K. Wallace, of Riitherfordton, 
North Carolina; the venerable Andrew I!. Long, of Rutherford County, whose father, at 
the time of this action a hoy of ten years, resided on Cane creek ; and Wm. L. and Dr 
T. B. Twitty also of Rutherford County. 

Lieutenant Allaire's Diary not only s\i|iplies the date of this little engagement, but 
serves to corroborate the tradition of the country, that McDowell's men were drawn up 
"on an eminence" — Ijedfonl's Hill apparently; that, according to this account, the Whigs 
were worsted, losing one priv.ite killed, Captain White wounded, sev uteen prisoners, and 
twenty pounds of powder while the liritish had one killed, and two wounded— Captain 
Dunlap, one of them, receiving two wounds. 

\ * 






onjoinod on Coloni-l Charli-s MfDowi'll, to doviso the host 
nu'iuis possible* to pri'sorvc thesi.' stocks from the grasp of 
the British and Tories. 

Coh)nel McDowell called the leading men of the Upper 
Catawba valley together, and suggested, simply to meet the 
present emergency, that they should repair to Gilbert Town, 
take Hritish protection, and thereby save the Whig stock, 
so necessary for the support of the country, from being 
approjiriated by the eneiu) ; that no man would thereby 
become a Tory at heart, but would merely exercise a wise 
stroke of public policy — that the end would justify the 
means and render the country a good service. Uaniel 
Smith, afterwards Colonel, Captains Tliomas Lytic and 
Thomas Hemphill, Robert Patton, and John McDowell, of 
Pleasant Garden — better known as I halting John McDowell 
— absolutely refused to engage in any such course, {ind 
stated that they would drive all the stock they could collect 
into the deep coves at the base of the Black Mountain ; that 
others might, if they would, take protection and save the 
remainder that could not be readily collected and concealed. 
Captain John Carson, a distinguished Indian tighter, after- 
wards known as Colonel Carson, Benjamin and William 
Davidson, and otlters, were designated to take protection, 
a\id thus save many valuable herds of cattle from the grasp 
of the enemy.* It was a very ungracious act on their part ; 
but Carson and his associates deemed it justifiable under 
the circumstances — suggested and urged, as it was, by 
Colonel Mci)owell, in behalf of the Whij; cause. While 
they accomplished the object they had in view, their 
motives, in the course of time, were unjustly misjudged 
and impugned. f 

* MS. statements of General Joseph McDowell and Colonel David Vance, made in 1797, 
and preserved by the late Hon. Robert Henry — all participants in the King's Mountain 

f Hon. Samuel P. Carson, a distinguished member of Congress, and son of Colonel Car- 
son, resented an .ispersion on his venerable father's character, when charged with having 
been a Tory, which resulted in an unfortunate duel, and the death of his antagonist. 



As hud been untiiipated by tlie patriots, Ferguson, eitlier 
in full force, or witli a stron<;' detachment, penetrated into 
the very heart of liurke County — as far as Davidson's 
" Old Fort," in tlie extreme western part of then Burke, 
now iMcDowt'ii county ; * and a few miles farthi-r north, up 
the Catawba Valley, as far as the old ICdmondson ]ilace, 
since McEntyre's, on Muck creek at the foot of the lilue 
Ridjfe. On their way thither, the Hrilish force was supplied 
with beef, corn, and other necessaries, by one Wilson, an 
Irishman, who afterwards mi<(rated to Tennessee, and for 
which he received a drat't on the British (jovernment from 
which, probably, he never received any avails. \ 

While in the rej^ion of Old Fort, a detachment of the 
enemy, under the command, it is believed, of Col. Fergu- 
son, concluded to pay a visit to Captain Thomas Lytle, a 
noted Whig leader, who resided some four miles south-west 
of that locality on Crooked creek. Mrs. Lytle, a spirited 
woman, heard of this intended visitation a little in ad\ance 
of the approach of the party, and concluded she would 
don her nice new gown and beaver hat, in procuring which 
for his young wife, Captain Lytle had spent n^uirly all his 
Continental money. It was pardonable of Mrs. Lytle to 
make this display', for there were no meetings or public 
gatherings, in that Irontier mountain region, in those troub- 
lous times, where she could appear in her gaudy arra}' of 
new finery. She naturally felt a secret satisfaction, as her 
husband was not in the way of danger, that this occasion 
had presented itself, in which she could gratify the feelings 
of a woman's pride in making what she regarded as an 
uncommonly attractive appearance. She took unusual 
pains in making up her toilet ; for though she was no Tory, 
she yet supposed that Colonel Ferguson was a gentleman, 
as well as a prominent British officer. 

*MS, Correspondence of Colonel Silas McDowell. 

+ MS. letter of Colonel Isaac T. Avery, November 2d, i860, on authority of Major Ben 
Biirgi;i, whose memory went back to the Revolution. 







At length, the Colonel, at the head of his squadron, leis- 
urely rtxle up toward the house. He halted in front t)f the 
door, and inquired if he could ha\e the pleasure t)f a few 
moments' conversation with Captain Lytle? Mrs. Lytle 
stepped to the door in full costume — probably the best 
dressed lady the Colonel had seen since he left Charles- 
ton — and dropping him a polite coiu'tesy, in accordance 
with the fashion of that day, invited him to alight and 
come in. He thanked her, but his business, he said, 
required haste ; that the King's army had restored his 
authorit}^ in all the Southern Provinces, and that the rebel- 
lion was virtually quelled ; that he had come up the Valley 
to see Captains Lytle and Hemphill, and a few others, who 
had served in the Rebel army against the King, and that 
he was the bearer of pardons for each of them. 

"My husband," Mrs. Lytle replied, " is from home." 

"Madame," inquired the Colonel, earnestly, "do you 
know where he is ? " 

"To be candid with you, Colonel," said Mrs. Lytle, " I 
really do not ; I only know that he is out with others of his 
friends whom you call Rebels." 

" Well, madame," replied Ferguson, deprecatingly, " I 
have discharged m}' duty ; I felt anxious to sa\e Captain 
Lytle, because I learn that \\q, is both brave and honorable. 
If he persists in rebellion, and comes to harm, his blood 
be upon his own head." 

"Colonel Ferguson," she responded, thoughtfully but 
firmly, " I don't know how this war may end ; it is not un- 
unlikely that my husband may fall in battle ; all I positively 
know is, that he will never prove a traitor to his countr}-." 

" Mrs. Lytle," said the Colon.'l, patronizingly, "I admire 
you as the handsomest woman I have seen in North Caro- 
lina — I even half zvav admire vour zeal in a bad cause ; 
but, take my word for it, the rebellion has had its day, and 
is now virtually put down. Give m}- kind regards to Cap- 
tain Lytle, and tell him to come in. He will not be asked 



to compromise his lionor ; his verbal pledge not again to 
take up arms against the King, is all that will he asked of 
him." He then bowed to Mrs. Lytle, and led oft' his 
troop. A straggler in the rear rode back, and taking otT 
his old slouched hat, made her a low bow, and with his left 
hand lifted her splendid beaver from her head, replacing it 
with his wretched apology, observing with mock gravity, 
"Mrs. Lyile, I can not leave so handsome a lady without 
something by which to remember you." As he rode oft', 
she hallooed after him: "You'll bite the dust for that, you 
villain ! " Thus Mrs. Lytle momentarily enjoyed the occa- 
sion of arraying herself in her best ; but, as she afterwards 
confessed, she paid dearly for the gratification of her pride, 
and long mourned the loss of her beautiful beaver hat.* 

Colonel McDowell had completely outwitted Ferguson 
and his plundering Tory followers ; and the hungr}^ horde, 
who invaded the Upper Catawba Valley with high hopes 
and expectations, returned to their camps near Gilbert 
Town loithont any beef cattle as a recompense for all tlicir 
toils and troubles. 

After the aft'.tir at Cane creek, and the final retirement 
beyond the mountains of the last remnant of embodied 
Whig forces in the western region of the Carolinas, Fergu- 
son thouirht the matter decided. When William Green 
rode up with a troop of cavahy, and tendered his and their 
services for the defense of the King's cause, Ferguson 
thanked diem for their loyalty ; but declined their accept- 
ance, as the country was subdued, and everything was quiet. 

It was reported to Colonel Ferguson, that Jonathan 
Hampton, a son of Colonel Andrew Hampton, residing in 
the vicinity of Gilbert Town, held the King's authority in 

'■' MS. corrcspDiulciice with the late Colimel Silas McPrwell. of Macon County, North 
Carolina, in 1873-74, who had these particulars from Mrs. Lytic herself. Colonel McDowell 
thought it was Tarlelon who visiteil Captain Lytle's, but it could nut have been, as his 
"Campaigns" and map of the route of his excursions show that he was never above 
Covan's Ford on the Catawba, while it is certain that Co;i)nel Ferguson was in Kurke 
County. Captain I-ytle ilicil not very far from iSjj, at the age of about ciKlitythrce years; 
and his venerable ccmipaniun gently passed away about the same time. 

\> V 





great contempt ; that he had the hardihood to accept a com- 
mission of Justice of the Peace from the Rebel Government 
of North Carolina, and had, only recently, ventured, b}- 
virtue of that instrument, to unite Thomas Fleming and 
a neighboring young lady in the holy bonds of wedlock. 
It was a high crime and misdemeanor in British and Tory 
eyes. So a party of four or live hundred men were dis- 
patched, under Majors Plummer and Lee, to visit the 
Hampton settlement, four or five miles south-west of Gil- 
bert I'ovvn, to apprehend young Hampton, and possibh' 
.entrap his father at the same time. But the Colonel had 
lelt the day before, and re-united with McDowell's forces. 
Riding up to young Hampton's cabin, they found him sit- 
ting at the door, fastening on his leggings, and getting 
himself in readiness to follow his father to the Whig camp 
in some secluded localit}- in the mountain coves of that 

At this moment, James Miller, and Andrew and David 
Dickey, three Whig friends, came within hailing distance, 
and hallooed: "Jonathan, are those men in the yard, 
friends or foes ! " 

Hampton, without exercising ordinary prudence, re- 
plied : " Boys, whoever you are, they are d — d Red Coals 
and Tories — clear yourselves ! " 

As they started to run, the Tories fired two or three vol- 
leys at them ; but they fortunately escaped unhurt. Per- 
haps Hampton presumed somewhat upon his partially 
crippled condition that forbearance would be shown him, 
for he was reel-footed ; yet he managed to perform many a 
good service for his country, and, as in this case, would 
lose sight of self, when he could hope to beneiit his friends. 
Mrs. Hampton chided him for his imi 'udence, saying: 
"Why, Jo. ihan, you are the most ungi rded man I ever 

The Tory party cursed him soundly for a d — d Rebel, 
and Major Lee knocked him down, and tried to ride over 



him, but his horse jumped clear over his body without 
toucliing him. Lee had just belbre appropriated Hamp- 
ton's horse as better than his own, and it may be that tlie 
animal recognized his master, and declined t(j be a party 
to his injury. While Major Plummer was courteous and 
considerate, Major Lee was rude and unfeeling in the 
extreme. Hampton, and his wile's brother, Jacob Ilyder, 
were made prisoners ; and those who had Hampton in 
charge, swore that they would hang him on the spot, and 
began to uncord his bed for a rope for the purpose, when 
Mrs. Hampton ran to Major Plummer with the alarm, and 
he prompU}' interposed to prevent the threatened execution. 
Some of the disappointed Tories, who thirsted lor his 
blood, declared in his presence, that Ferguson would put 
so notorious a Rebel to death the moment he laid eyes on 
him. Major Plummer informed Hampton if he could 
give security for his appearance the next day at Gilbert 
Town, he might remain over night at home. He tried 
several Loyalists whom he knew, but they declined ; and 
linally Major Plummer himself otlered to be his seccrily. 
According to appointment, the next day Hampton pre- 
sented himself to Ferguson, at Gilbert Town, who pro- 
ceeded to examine his case. When asked his name, he 
frankly told him, adding, that, though in the power of his 
enemies, he would never deny the honored name of Hamp- 
ton. Major Dunlap, then on crutches, entering the room, 
inquired of Colonel Ferguson the name of the Rebel 
on trial? " Hampton," replied Ferguson. This seemed to 
rouse Dunlap's ire, who repeated thoughtfully: "Hamp- 
ton — ^Hampton — that's the name of a d — d Hnc-looking 
young Rebel I killed a while since, on the head of Paco- 
let," referring to the alTair at Earle's Ford, when Noah 
Hampton, a brother of the prisoner, was murdered in cold 
blood. Dunlap added: "Yes; I now begin to recall 
something of this fellow ; aRd though a cripple, he has done 
more harm to the Ro}al ctuse than ten lighting men ; he is 

■ .' i 


' ■ '. n 







one of the d — cUst Rebels in all the countiy, and ought to 
be strung up at once, without fear or favor." 

Jonathan Hampton had, indeed, been an unwearied 
friend of the Wiiig cause. lie was a good talker ; he kept 
up the spirits of the people, and helped to rally the men 
when needed for militar}' service. E\en in his crippled 
condition, he would cheerfully lend a helping hand in stand- 
ing guard ; and, when apprehended, was about abandoning 
his home to join his father and McDowell in their ilight to 
Watauga. But Ferguson was more prudent and humane 
than Dunlap, and dismissed both Hampton and Ilyder on 
their parole. Hampton observed when Ferguson wrote the 
paroles, he did so with his left hand ; for, it will be remem- 
bered, his right arm had been badly shattered at Brandy wine, 
the use of which he had never recovered, Hyder tore up 
his parole, shortly after leaving Ferguson's presence ; but 
Hampton retained his as long as he lived, but never had 
occasion to use it, as Ferguson shortly after retired to 
King's Mountain, and the region of Gilbert Town was 
never after invaded by a British force.* 

Major James Dunlap, who figured so prominently in the 
military operations in Spartanburg during the summer of 
1780, now claims at our hands a further and final notice. 
Of his origin, we have no account. He must have been a 
man of enterprise, for he was commissioned a Captain in 
the Qiieen's Rangers, a partisan corps, November twenty- 
seventh, 1776. This corps had been raised during the sum- 
mer and autumn of that year, from native Loyalists, mostly 
refugees from Connecticut, and from the vicinit}- of New 

*MS. correspondence of Adam and James J, Hampton, sons of \ athaii Hampton, in 
i87:!-74; MS. letter of Colonel Isaac T. Avery, October 19th, i860; and MS. leiter of Colo- 
nel Silas M. |)ottcll, July 13th, 1873. 

This sterlinu; iiatriot, Jonathan Hampton, was born on Dutchman's creek, Lincoln 
County, near the Catawba river. North Carolina, in 1751; and when nearly urow". he 
removed with his father, and settled on Mountain creek, four or five miles south-west of 
Ciilbert Town. He was many years clerk of the Rutherford court, and five years repre> 
scntcd the County in the State Senate in the early part of the present century. He died 
at Gilbert Town, October 3d 1S43. at the venerable age of ninety-two years. Of his large 
family, but one son survives — Jonathan Hampton, Jr., now eighty-five years of age. 



York, by Colonel Robert Rogers, who had distiniruishecl 
himself with a corps ot" Rangers on tJie frontiers of New 
York and Canada, during the French and Indian war of 
1755-60. The month before Dunlap had become a Captain 
in the corps, Rogers had been surprised at Mamoroneck, 
on Long Island Sound, losing nearly eighty killed and cap- 
tured, together with sixty stand of arms.* 

Such was the daring and good service of the Qiieen's 
Rangers at Brandy wine, September eleventh, 1777, that 
the British Commander-in-chief particularh' complimented 
them " for their spirited and gallant behavior in the engage- 
ment," f in which they suOered severel}'. The ensuing 
ve .r they shared in the operations around Philadelphia, 
and in New Jersey. In the affair at Hancock's House, 
near Salem, New Jersey, on the night of the twentieth of 
March, 1778, Captain Dunlap bore a prominent part. The 
order was a most sanguinary one: — " Go — spare no one — 
■put (ill to death — give no quarters!"' The house was gar- 
risoned by twent}' men, under Captain Carleton Sheppard ; 
and with them were four Loyalist prisoners — ^Judge Han- 
cock, the owner of the house, and three other C^iakers — 
one of whom was Charles Fogg, "a very aged ""lan." All 
were asleep, and the work of death by the sword and bayo- 
net was quick and terrible. Some accounts represent that 
all. others two-thirds, of the occupants, garrison and prison- 
ers, were horribly mangled by Dunlap and his fiendish as- 
sociates — among them were Judge Hancock and some of 
his Qiiaker brethren. Simcoe, of the Rangers, speaks of 
this undesigned destruction of their friends as "among the 
real miseries of war," though he had no tears to shed for 
the score or two of patriots who fell without resistance.;); 

Dunlap and the Qiieen's Rangers shared in the British 
retreat from Philadelphia to New York, and in the battle of 

* Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, ii, 615. 
t Simcoe's /c«r«(7.', 310- 

J Johnson's History of Salem. New Jersey; I!arl>er and Howe's Historical Collections 
cf Xc-kO Jersey, 426-28; I.ossing's Field Book, ii, 139; 'ii\n\coti's Journal, 51-52. 





Monmouth, in June, 1778. On the tliirty-first of Au^ifust 
ensuing, the Rangers participated in a bloody afl'air near 
King's Bridge, on the Hudson. A party of Americans and 
friendly Stockbridge Indians were drawn into an ambus- 
cade, which resulted in the loss of nearly- forty — fully twenty 
of whom were Indians, either killed or desperately woim- 
ded, and among the slain were Ninham, their chief, and his 
son of the same name/" The following year, besides some 
garrison duty at Oyster Ba}', the Rangers served on forag- 
ing and scouting parties, during which they encountered 
some occasional skirmishing. In one of these forays, at 
Brunswick, New Jersey, they were unexpectedly fired upon 
by the Americans in ambush ; and among other casualties, 
their commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Simcoe, was t:iken 
prisoner. Sir Henry Clinton, early in 1780, declared that 
the history of the corps had been a "series of gallant, skil- 
ful, and successful enterprises against the enemy, without a 
reverse, and have killed and taken twice their own num- 
bers." f 

Such were the services of the Qiieen's Rangers, and the 
experience of Captain Dunlap, prior to his engaging in the 
expedition against Charleston, in December, 1779. He 
would seem to have been one of the picked officers of Colo- 
nel Ferguson, for his select partisan corps for this new 
enterprise. Dunlap shared in the siege and capture of 
Charleston, doubtless in the same operations, as described 
in a previous chapter, in which Ferguson's corps was 
engaged, and was sent to the western borders of South 
Carolina, under Ferguson, immediately after the fall of 
Charleston. His attack on McDowell's force at Earle's 
Ford, on Nordi Pacolet, and the affair near Cedar Spring 
and WolTord's Iron Works, together with the engagement 
at Cane creek, where he was severely wounded, have 
already been related. 

*> Continental Journal, September 17th, 1778; Simcoe's Military Journal, 83-86, and 
accompanying iliagrnm: Massacre 0/ the Stockbridge Indians, by Thomas F. De Vne, in 
Magazine of American History, September, 1880. 

f Simcoc'syo«r>;n/| introductory memoir, x. 



Major Dunlap has left behind liim an unenviable repu- 
tation. Tiie bloody \voik he performed at the Hancock 
House, and his share in the destruction of Ninham and his 
Stockbridi(e warriors, would appear to have been in the 
line of his taste and character. "He had," says Judge 
Johnson, in his Life of Greene, " rendered himself infamous 
by his barbarity." "His severities," said Major James 
Sevier, one of the King's Mountain men. "incensed the 
people against him." It is certain he was an advocate for 
hanging Whigs for no other crime than sympathizing with 
their si;tTering countrv ; his brutal language to this etlect, 
in the presence of, and concerning Jonathan Hampton, must 
be fresh in the reader's remembrance. That such a man, 
characterized by such practices, should, sooner or later, 
come to an untimely end, is neither strange nor unexpected. 

Snuffing the approaching storm, Ferguson suddenly 
abandoned his camp at Gilbert Town to avoid the approach 
of the over-mountain men. Dunlap, upon his crutches, and 
in such a hurried retreat, was in no condition to accompany 
the retiring forces. William Gilbert, with whom he was 
stopping while recovering from his wound, was a 103'al 
friend of King George ; and while he himself seems to have 
gone oft' with Ferguson, Mrs. Gilbert and the familv re- 
mained to take proper care of the invalid. A soldier of the 
name of Coates was left to wait upon him, but who, not 
long after, pro\ oking the mortal ire of a negro of Gilbert's, 
was killed by him, and his remains consumed in a coal-pit. 

This event of ill-omen was speedily followed by an almost 
tragic occur'^^nce. ''^ iie avenger of blood was nigh. Two 
or three men from vSpartanburg rode to the door of the Gil- 
bert house, shortly after Ferguson had commenced his 
retreat for King's Mountain, when the leader, Cap^^-vln Gil- 
lespie, asked Mrs. Gilbert if Major Dunlap was not up 
stairs? She frankl}' replied that he was, probably supposing 
that the party were Lo\-a]ists, and had some important com- 
munication for him. They soon disabused her of their 


ii mix 








characttT and mission, for they declarod that ho liad been 
instrutncntal in piittin<^ sonio of their f'-icnds to di-alli, and, 
mort'oxcr, liad alKhutcd the beautiful Mary McRi-a, the alli- 
anced of Captain Gillespie, as she would not encourage his 
amorous advances, and kept her in confinement, trusting 
that she would in time }ield to his wishes ; but death came 
to her relief, she probably dying broken-hearted. They 
had now come for revenge ; Gillespie, particularly, uttering 
his imprecations on the head of the cruel destroyer of all 
his earthly hopes. So saving, thi'y mounted the stairs, 
when Gillespie abruptly approached Dunlap, as he lav in 
bed, with the inquiry: '' Where is Mary McRea?" "In 
heaven," was tlu' reply ; whereupon the injured Captain 
shot him througli the body ; and quicklv remounting iheir 
horses, GilK'spie and his associates bounded away towards 
their Spartanburg homes. This is the tradition, sifted and 
collated, as preserved in the Hampton famil}-.* 

Colonel Silas McDowell, who visited his old friend, Jona- 
than Hampton, in 183 r. heard him relate the story of Dun- 
lap being shot, but could only recall the main fact, that the 
perpetrator of the act, some friend of Noah Hp.mpton, whon; 
Dunlap had boasted of slaying, had rushed to the Major's 
up-stairs room, and shot him through the body as he lay on 
his couch. M. O. Dickerson. Esq., of Rutherfordton, has 
had substantially the same relation from Mr. Hampton. 
The old Gilbert house was then standing, and Hampton 
pointed out t(j both these visitors the stain of Dunlap's blood 
still discernible upon the floor ; and there are others, still 
living, who have seen it also. This venerable building, 
in which the earlv courts of the County were held, when 
about to fall from age, was taken down some four or five 
years since, by its present owner, J. A. Forney, Esq., who 

*MS. correspondente witli the late venerable Adam and James J. Hampton, in 1S73- 
74 ; and the present venerable Jnnathan Hanipt<m. in 18S0, sons of the patriot, Jonathan 
Hampton. Sr. 

M. O. Dickerson states that it lias been handed down as tlie o|iinion of some of the old 
people of that rcj^ion, tnat Mrs. Gilbert and her son made way with the nnfortunate Major 
Dunlap ; but this seems to have been a cruel and baseless suspicion. 






;,:iiii iiliillillllillilllliiilillilllllllliillllilillillillll^^ 




has preserved the hlood-stained floor-plank. While these 
traditi(ms difVer somewhat in their details, all having a com- 
mon origin from the old patriarch, Jonathan Ilamjiton, Sr., 
the}' all agree in the general conclusion, that Dunlap was 
shot in retaliation for alleged cruelties — either in killing 
Whigs, or abducting Miss McRea, or both ; and all coin- 
cide in the belief, that the redoubtable Major was killed 
outright, and buried about three hundred 3ards south of the 
Gilbert house, the grave being still pointed out, marked by 
a granite rock at the head and foot.* 

Major James Holland lived at Gilbert Town for many 
years, and was a prominent character. In 1783, he repre- 
sented Rutherford County in the State Senate ; in 1786 and 
1789, he was in the House of Commtnis, and served a term 
in Congress from 1795 to 1797. In this latter year, he was 
again chosen to a seat in the State Senate, and then served 
live consecutive terms in Congress, from 1801 imtil iSii. 
The late venerable Adam Ilaiiij^ton wrote in 1873 : '-I will 
relate to 3'ou what I heard Major James Holland sa}- in 
reference to Major Dunlap's grave. He said that in 1809, 
while serving as a member of Congress at Washington, he 
dreamed that a quantitx' of gold was buried with Dunlap, 
and, on his return home, he opened the grave, and found 
sixty-one guineas." 

From all these traditions and relations, it would ordi- 
narily be concluded, that Dunlap assuredly died of the 
wound inflicted by Captain Gillespie. It is quite clear, 
however, that he did not. W\' can only suppose that, when 
shot, he was left unconscious, or feigned death ; and when 
Gillespie's partv departed, it was reported, for his safet\-, 
that he was killed and buried near In* ; and it is possible, 
that the Major may have had his servant, Coates, secrete 
his money there before the latter was murdered bv the 
ne£{ro. ThouLrh in a Tcm-v reirion, it would not have been 


*MS. letters of Adam, James J., ;\iul Jimatlian Hampton. Jr.. and M. O. Dickerson, 
W. L. and Dr. T. B. Twitty, and Miss N. M. McDowell. 




safo to have hail it known that Diinhip was still alive ; for 
Gillespie, or others, would surely have come to make the 
work of death more certain next time. He was too feeble, 
with this additional wound, to be removed at once to Ninety 
Six — the nearest IJritish fort, after Cornwallis had lied from 
Charlotte ; and it was fully ninety miles from Ciilhert Town 
to Ninety Six, in a direct coursi>, and consitlerabh more by 
such by-ways as it would have been necessary to pursue, in 
order to avoid the intervening Whig settlements. Hence 
the necessity of circulating this report of his death, which 
must have been well kept, and which the Hampton family 
fully credited, and which Major James Sevier corroborated, 
in a general way, to the writer, in 1S44, by asserting, that 
for his cruellies, Dunlap had been killed by a parly of 
Whigs at Gilbert Town. But as Major Sevier made no 
mention of having heard anything concerning Dunlap on 
the night of the third of October, when he and his fellow- 
mountaineers were at Gilbert Town, the wounded Major 
must, at that time, have been secreted somewhere in the 
neighboring hills or fastnesses for safety. And even after 
the war, as Gilbert was well known, and had figured some- 
what in public life, he may have deemed it good policy to 
refrain from revealing the fact that he or his family had so 
long concealed Dunlap, and perhaps secretly aided him in 
efiecting his escape to Ninety Six. 

As soon as he was able to ride, it w'ould seem, he was 
conveyed to Ninety Six ; and if any gold had been buried 
by Coates in his behalf, near by, for safe keeping. Major 
Dunlap must have been unable to find it, for had the Gil- 
berts isi'creted it for him, they would have known the place 
of its concealment. W";' find him at Ninety Six, in March, 
17S1, and sufficiently recovered for active service. He was 
sent with a party of seventy-six dragoons on a foraging 
expedition. Receiving intelligence of this plundering ma- 
raud. General Pickens detached Colonel Clarke and Major 
McCall with a sufiicient force to attack him. On the 




twcnty-fnurtli of March, tlicv came up with him encanipi'd 
at ni-atlir's Mill, on LiltU' river, some twenty-two miles 
from Ninety Si.\. Dispatching a party to take possi'ssion 
of a bridge over which Dunlap would necessarily pass on 
his return, the main body advanced and took him by sur- 
prise. I le retired into the mill and some neighboring out- 
houses, but which were too open for protection against rille- 
men. '•Recollecting," as the historian, McCall, asserts, 
•' his t)ulra<fe(Uis conduct to the families and friends t)f tiiose 
b\ whom he was attacked, Dunlap resisted for several hours, 
until thirty-four of his men were killed and wounded — him- 
self among the latter — when a flag was hung out, and they 
surrendered," else all would have been sooner or later 
picked ofl' by Clarke's and McCall's unerring rillemen. 
In General Pickens' report, as published by Congress, the 
number is stated as thirty-four of the enemy killed, and 
forty-two taken ; so the wounded must have been included 
among the captives. The prisoners were sent to Watauga 
setdement, in East Tennessee, for safe keeping. 

"The British account of this aflair," adds McCall, 
"stated that Dunlap was murdered by the guard having 
him in charge, after his surn-nder ; but such was not the 
fact — for he died of his wounds the ensuing night." It is 
evident from General Greene's general order of the subse- 
quent sixteenth of April, that Dunlap was taken prisoner, 
and nothing could have been said in Pickens' first report of 
the action relative to the Major's death ; hence it could 
hardly have occurred so soon afler his surrender as McCall 
states. But McCall errs in supposing that Dunlap was not 
killed by liis guard, or by some one with their connivance. 
It was covered up, as much as possible, by those wlio per- 
petrated the act ; but General Pickens, whose high sense of 
honor revolted against such turpitude, even against an offi- 
cer of Dunlap's infamous character, "ofl'ered a hand- 
some rew^ard for the murderers," as General Greene sub- 
sequently testifies in a letter to the British Colonel Balfour, 



accompanied with a cop}^ of Pi.-kens' order proclaiming 
the reward. 

Thus wretchedly perished, at the hands of his enemies, 
Major James Dunlap. While the manner of his taking oft' 
is to be regretted, it must be confessed that he had little 
reason to expect better treatment. He had led a life of 
military savagery, and his "outrageous conduct" to the 
families of Clarke's and McCall's men, was perfectly in 
keeping with his previous acdons, and very naturall}- pro- 
voked the retaliation of those whom he had so grievously 

His rank was Captain in the Qiieen's Rangers, and ap- 
parently Major in the special service to which he was 
assigned in Ferguson's corps. As the commission of his 
successor in the Rangers — Bennet Walpole — bore date 
March twenty-ninth, 1781, that very likely fixes the time of 
Dunlap's death. His name last appears in the Royal Arm}' 
List, published in New York in 1781, which was probabl}'- 
issued before his death in March had been learned. Had 
he been killed in the preceding October at Gilbert Town, 
his name would doubtless have disappeared, and that of his 
successor taken its place. It is certain that Dunlap belonged 
to the Qiieen's Rangers, and there was no other person of 
his name and rank either in the Rangers or any other Pro- 
vincial corps ; so it is not possible that there could have 
been two Major Dunlaps killed — one at Gilbert Town, and 
the other at or near Beattie's Mill. 

* Marylaiiii Jou nal. May ist and 8tli. 17S1 ; Massa^ ''iiselts S/>y, June 14th. 1781 ; Mc- 
Call's Georgia, ii. 361: Goruon's Am. Rev., iv, 167; John.^^'.'s Li/i' 0/ Greene, ii. 107, 135, 
105; Gil]lies' Doe. History, 1781-8^, idg; Greene's Greene, iii, 232; MS. pension statements 
of Alisalom Tlioinpson and Jnel Darcy, 

Mi-rall gives the dale of the aff.iir at Reattic's Mill as March 21st; Init Pickens' report, 
as puMislied b" Congress says it occurred on the 24th of that month, and his authority 
would seem to lie most rcliahlo. 

Credit is due to Charles R. Hildeluirn. Esq., of Phihulelphia. for the christian name of 
Majoi Punlap, with the date of his commission in tlie Rangers, and that of his successor. 
Mr. Ilildeburn has given spcial attention to the leaders in the Loyalist corps, and learned 
the ficts in question from the rare Royal Army Lists, published in New York from 1777 to 




July— October, 1780. 

Gather iii}^ of tlw King's Mountain Clans.— Williaiits failitrc to fi^i-t coni- 
niand of Sumter's i/icn — //is tricky treatment of Sumter. — Jurt^u- 
son sends a threat to the over-mountain men. — Shelby's patriotic 
efforts to turn the scales on Ju-ri^uson.—Sci'ier, McDowell, Hamp- 
ton, and Campbell unite in the Enterprise — C.eveland invited to 
join them. — Sevier's success in proi'idini^-.S'up/ilies for the E.xfediti, n. 
— Kende::vous at the Sycamore Shoals. — Preparations for the March. 
— Parson Doalc commends the men to the protection of the Good 
Father. — Their March over the mountains. — Jo ned by Cleveland 
and Winston. — Campbell chosen to the Chief Command. — Mc- 
Doivell's mission for a General Officer. 

Colonel Williams, as \ve havu seen, a as honored by 
Govemor Rutledge, in September, with a commission of 
Brigadier-General in the Soutli Carolina militia, in recog- 
nition of liis having been, as the Govemor was led to 
believe, the chief commander of the Whigs at the battle of 
Musgrove's Mill. Govrri>':;r Nash, of North Carolina, had 
given him permission to recruit, within that Slate, not to 
exceed a hundred horsemen. With his commission in his 
pocket, he at once repaired to Sumter's camp, on the 
Catawba Reservation, east of the river of that name. lie 
had It publicly read, and then ordered the ollicers ai.d men 
to recognize his right to command them, declaring that 
Sumter had no proper authority to do so. 

. Here a serious ditliculty arose. At this period, Sumter 
bore the title and performed the office of a General ; but 
he had, in fact, no commission. He had been chosen by 
his ov.ii men, who, forced to leave their homes, had banded 
together for their mutual safety, and the better, as occasion 
should offer, to strike an effective blow at an insolent enemy. 

^i h 



Thus gathered together, acting pretty much on their own 
voHtion, rather than by any special authorit}', they chose 
Sumter their leader, which the}' believed they had a perfect 
right to do, as South Carolina, in its then inchoate con- 
dition, was unable to grant t!:em any pir> , or lurnish them 
supplies of any kind. Governor Rutledge, for safet}-, had 
retired to North Carolina, 

]jut they had another reason why they declined to recog- 
"nize Williams as their commander. They cherished an old 
grudge against him. While Sumter was organizing his 
force, in the early summer, on Clem's Branch of Sugar 
creek, east of the Catawba, Williams and some of his 
neighbors of the Little river region, had retired to the 
northward with such of their moveable propert\- as they 
could convey to a place of safet}- till more quiet times — 
].>robably to Granville County, North Carolina, .here the 
Colonel had formerly lived, and where he hr.d family 
relations still residing. On his return, he repaired to Sum- 
ter's camp, and frankly confessed, as he had brought no 
men, he could claim no command ; but he, nevertheless, 
wished to serve his countr}' in some position of usefulness. 
Colonel Hill, who knew him, suggested that General Sum- 
ter needed an i^fficient Commissary ; and upon mentioning 
the matter to the General, he accordintrlv commissioned 
Williams to serve in that capacity. 

Major Charles Mil(\s, with twenty-five men and four 
teams and wagons, was assigned to this service under 
Colonel Williams. So matters went along smoothly 
enough, and satisfactorily to all concerned, to all outward 
appearances, till after the battle of Hanging Rock, on the 
sixth of August. While Sumter \\ as encamped on Cane 
creek, in Lancaster District, one morning, about the 
twelfth of that month, it was discovered that Williams had 
decamped, without dropping a hint to Sumter on the sub- 
ject, taking with him Colonel Brandon and a small party 
of tbllowers, rnostl}- of the Fair Forest region, together 



with a number of public horses, and considerable provisions 
and camp equipage. 

Sumter and his subordinates were not a little vexed at 
this treatment. As the}' regarded it, Williams had been 
not (Hily ungrateful for the posidon conferred upon him, 
but had betrayed a public trust. Colonel Lace\'. one of 
Sumter's best officers, a man of much personal prowess, 
was dispatched, with a small guard, in pursuit of the 
fugitives, with a view at least of recovering the public 
property. He overtook them encamped on the west side 
of the Catawba, but iinding Williams' party too strong to 
attempt coercive measures, Lacey resorted to other means 
to accomplisli his purpose. Inviting Williams to take a 
walk with hini, he suddenh', when out of reach of the 
camp, presented a pistol at his breast, threatening him with 
instant death if he should make the least noise, or call for 
assistance. With his pisto! still aimed, Lacey expostu- 
lated with him on the baseness of his conduct, when Wil- 
liams pledged his word and honor that he would take back 
all the public property, and as many of the men rs he could 
prevail upon to return . ith him. Not confiding in his word, 
Lacey exacted an oath to the same purpose, widi which 
Williams readil}^ complied. But once free from restraint, 
he neithe • regarded the one nor the ofliv.r, but retired to 
Smitli's Ford, on Broad river, where he joined Colonel Mc- 
Dowell's forces, and participated, immediately thereafter, 
in the successful expedition against the enemy at Mus- 
grove's Mill. * 

During the summer, Sumter had been operating mostly 
east of the Catawba. Williams' home was considerably to 
the southwest of that stream, and he tried to justify himself, 
no doubt, by arguing that his oUn jiarticular region had 
the strongest claim upon his attention, and a man who 
would not provide for his own family and people was worse 
tlian an infidel. However this may be, there can be no good 

* Tlie details of this aflfair are taken from Colonel \Vm. Hill's MS. narrative. 

, . !-i 



excuse for his conduct. He should have souirht a more 
manly and honorable way of eftecting his object, as Colonel 
Clarke had done before him. 

Sumter, his otticers and men, were unanimous in resol\ - 
ing to have nothing to do with Williams. They regarded 
his conduct in leaving the camp as he did the preceding 
month, as treacherous, and unbecoming an honorable offi- 
cer. Williams, meeting with such a reception — and he 
could hardl}' have expected any other — was not slow to 
take his departure. A council of the lield officers of Sum- 
ter's command was soon after convened, in which it was 
judged best to make a full representation to Governor Rut- 
ledge of the condition of the brigade, and their reasons for 
refusing to accept Williams as their commander. Five 
prominent officers were accordingly selected to wait upon 
the Governor, at Ilillsboro, four of whom were Colonels 
Richard Winn, Ilenr^- Hampton, John Thomas, Jr., and 
Charles S. Myddelton ; Colonel Thomas Taylor was prob- 
ably the other. Meanwhile, it was agreed that Sumter 
should retire until a decision was reached and the difficulty 
settled. Colonels Lacey and Hill to command the troops 
during the interim.* 

W^illiams seems to hdve received some intimation, while 
in Sumter's camp, that his conduct would soon be properly 
represented to Governor Rutledge ; and ha\ing claimed 
more with regai'd to his command at Musgrove's than the 
facts would warrant, he probably deeuied it best not to lay 
his new grie\-ances before the Governor, but repair at once 
to the field, and endeavor, by brilliant service, to cause his 
past derelictions to be overlooked and forgotten. 

It is now necessary to give a succinct account of the 
circumstances which led the over-mountain men so soon 
again to re-pass the Alleghanies, and appear on their 
eastern border. Though separated b}- high mountains 
and broad forests from their brethren of the Carolinas, 

♦Colonel Hill's MS. narrative. 



they hcartil}' S3mpathizecl with them, and were even 
ready to aid them in their struggles against the common 
enemy. Shelby, the McDowells and their compeers, it 
will be remembered, while retiring, in August, before 
Ferguson's pursuers, from the Musgrove's Mill expedi- 
tion, resolved that as soon as they could have a needed 
rest, and strengthen their numbers, they Would re-cross the 
mountains, and ''beard the lion in his den." The summer 
heats and exposures had retarded their renewal of the 
enterprise ; their crops had doubtless demanded their at- 
tention ; and, above all, the neighboring Cherokees were 
inimical and threatening. And so they tarried, watching 
on the borders. 

But a circumstance transpired that tended to arouse 
them from their ease and sense of security. When Fer- 
guson took post at Gilbert Town, in the early part of Sep- 
tember, remembering how the mountain men had annoyed 
him and his detachments on the Pacolet, at Thicketty Fort, 
near Wollord's iron works, and at Musgroxe's, he paroled 
Samuel Philips, a distant relative of Colonel Isaac Shelby, 
whom he had taken prisoner — perhaps one of the wounded 
left at Wortord's or Musgrove's, now recovered — with a 
verbal message to the ofilcers on the Western waters of 
Watauga, Nolachuck}-, and Ilolston, that "if they did not 
desist from their opposition to the British arms, he would 
march his army over the mountains, hang their leaders, 
and lay their country waste widi fire and sword."* 

This threat accomplished more than Ferguson bargained 
for. Philips, i-esiding near Shelby's, went directly to him 
v;ith the message, giving him, in addition, such intelligence 
as he could impart concerning the strength, locality, and 
intentions of the enemy. Of the Loyalists composing the 
major part of Ferguson's command, some had previously 

'•)• I'f 


'■'Sliel!>y's Kinij's Mountain Narrative, 1823; Haywood's Hist. Teni.cssee. 67; Shelby's 
statement, in the American Whig RiVie:v, Dec, 1846, 580; General Joseph Graham's 
account, in the Southern Literary Mcsicnger, September, 1845. 




|i n 

been on the Western waters, and were familiar with the 
Watauga settlements, and the mountain passes b}- which 
they were reached. One of them had been subjected, the 
past summer, to the inc ^nity of a coat of tar and feathers, 
by the light-horsemen of Captain Robert Sevier, on 
Nolachucky ; and, in resentment, proposed to act as 
pilot to Ferguson.* 

In a few da}s, Shelby went some forty miles to a horse- 
race, near the present village of Jonesboro, to see Colonel 
Sevier, the efficient commander of the militia of Washiuif- 
ton County, embracing the Watauga and Nolachucky settle- 
ments, to inform him of Ferguson's threatening message, 
and concert measures for their mutual action. The result 
was that these brave leaders resolved to carry into eflect the 
plan Shelby and associates had formed the previous month, 
when east of the mountains — lO raise all the men thev 
could, and attempt, with proper assistance, to surprise 
Ferguson by attacking him in his camp ; or, at any rate, 
before he should be prepared to meet them. If this was 
not practicable, they would unite with an}' corps of patriots 
they might meet, and wage war against the enemies of 
their country ; and should the}' fail, and the country 
eventual!}' be over-run and subdued by die British, tliey 
could take water, float down the Ilolston, Tennessee, Ohio, 
and Mississippi, and find a home among the Spaniards in 
Louisiana. It was known to them, that Colonel Charles 
McDowell and Colonel iVndrew Hampton with about one 
hundred and sixty men, had retired before Ferguson's forces 
from Cane creek and Ilpper Catiiwba, arriving at Colonel 
John . .trter's on the eighteenth of September, and 
were now refugees mostly encamped on the Watauga. f 
Some of McDowellV, officers were seen and consulted by 
Shelby and Sevier before lliC}' parted. Colonel Sevier 
engaged to see others of them, and bring them all into the 

* Ramsey's Tennessee. 223, 

■|-MS. letter Colonel Joseph Martin, Long Island of Holston, Sept. 22, 1780. 



measure ; while Shelby, on his part, undertook to procure 
the aid and co-operation of Colonel William Campbell, 
of the neighboring County of Washington, in Virginia, with 
a Ibrce from that region, if practicable. A time and place 
for the general rendezvous were appointed — the twenty- 
liflh of September, at the Sycamore Flats or Shoals, on 
the Watauga. 

Colonel Shelby had necessarily much to do in getting 
his own regiment of Sullivan County men in readiness 
for the expedition. He wrote to Colonel Campbell, who 
resided lorty miles distant, explaining tiie nature of the 
prop )sed service, and urging him to join in it with all the 
men !ie could raise for that purpose. The letter wa'-. sent 
by the Colonel's brother, Captain Moses Shelby. It was 
the plan of Lord Cornwallis to lead his army from Char- 
lotte to Salisbury, there to form a junction with Ferguson's 
corps ; and, preliminary to the further invasion of North 
Carolina and Virginia, to incite the Southern Indians not 
only to invade the Ilolston and Watauga settlements, but 
proceed, if possible, as liigh up in South-West Virginia as 
Chiswell's Lead INIiues, and destroy the works and stores 
at that place, where large quantities of lead were pro- 
duced for the supply of the American armies. And as the 
destruction of the Mines and their product was a capital 
object with the British, the Tories high up New river, and 
in the region of the Lead Mines, had also been encouraged 
to make an attempt in that direction. Colonel Campbell 
had been diligently engaged, for several weeks, with a 
part of his regiment, in suppressing this Tor}- insurrection, 
and had just returned from that service when Colonel 
Shelby's letter arrived. 

Campbell replied, that he had determined to raise what 
men he could, and march down by the F'.our Gap, on the 
southern borders of Virginia, to be in readiness to oppose 
Lord Cornwallis when he should advance from Charlotte, 
and approach that State ; that he still thought this the 





better policy, and declined uniting with Sevier and 
Shelby on the proposed expedition. Colonel Shelby 
promptly notilied Colonel Sevier of Canipbell's determin- 
ation, and at the same time issued an order for all the 
militia of Sullivan County to hold themselves in readi- 
ness to march at the time appointed. As the Cherokee 
towns were not to exceed eighty to one hundred miles from 
the frontiers of Sullivan, and much less from the Watauga 
settlements ; and as it was known that the Cherokccs were 
preparing to make a formidable attack on the bordei* people, 
in the course of a few weeks, Colonel Shelby fell an 
unwillingness to draw off, for a distant service, all the dis- 
posable force of the counties of Sullivan and Washington 
at so critical a period, and leave hundreds of helpless 
families exposed to the tomahawk and scalping-kiiife. 

lie, therefore, immediately wrote a second letter to 
Colonel Campbell by the same messenger, urging his 
views more fully, and stating that without his aid, he 
and Sevier could not leave sufficient force to protect their 
frontiers, and at the same time lead forth a party strong 
enough to cope with Ferguson. About the same time 
he wrote also lo Colonel Arthur Campbell, the cousin and 
brother-in-law of Colonel William Campbell, and who was 
the County Lieutenant or superior military officer of the 
County, informing him of Ferguson's progress and threats, 
lUd telling the touching story of McDowell's party, driven 
from their homes and families ; and appealing to the County 
Lieutenant, whether it would not be possible to make an 
effort to escort and protect the exiles on their retiun to their 
homes and kindred, and drive Ferguson from the country. 
Colonel Arthur Campbell had just returned from Rich- 
mond, where he had an interview with Governor JelVerson. 
and learned that vigorous efforts were being made to re- 
trieve the late misfortunes near Camden, and repel the 
advances of the enemy now flushed with victory. 

Both Colonels Arthur and W^illiam Campbell, on full 


■'■ i 



reflection, rogardod the proposed expedition with favor, and 
sent back word tluit they would co-operate with Colonels 
Shelby and Sevier to aid their friends to return to their 
homes beyond the mountains, and punish their Tory oppress- 
ors ; Colonel Arthur Campbell informing Shelby, through 
the messenger, Mr. Adair, of the Governor's sentiment, 
and the etlbrts that would soon be made by Congress to 
check the progress of the enemy. "The tale of iMcDowell's 
men," says Colonel Arthur Campbell, "was a doleful one, 
and tended to excite the resentment of the people, who of 
late had become inured to danger by lighting the Indians, 
and who had an utter detestation of the tyranny of the Brit- 
ish Government."* 

At a consultation of the field odicers of Washington 
County, it wiis agreed to call out one-half of the militia, 
under Colonel William Campbell, for this over-mountain 
service. That day, the twenty-second of September, the 
order was made for the men, who seemed animated with a 
spirit of patriotism, and speedily prepared lor the expedi- 
tion. An express was, at the same time, sent to Cohjnel 
Cleveland, of Wilkes County, North Carolina, to apprise 
him of the designs and movements of the men on the 
Western waters, and request him to meet them, with all the 
troops he could raise, at an appointed place on the east side 
of the mountains. The express di)ubtless took the shortest 
route, crossing ICcw river not far from the Virginia and 
North Carolina line, and thence to Wilkes Countv ; and 
probably the thirtieth of September, and die (^laker 
Meadows, were the time and place of meeting. Colonel 
Campbell went to the place of rendezvous b\' way of 
Colonel Shelby's, while his men, who had assembled at the 
first creek below Abingdon, marched down a nearer way 
— by the Watauga road. 

The whole country was animated by the same glowing 
spirit, to do something to put down Ferguson and his Tory 
gang, who threatened their leaders with the halter, and 

*MS. statement of Colonel Arthur Campbell. 







their homes vvilli the torch. " Here," exclaimed \.\w youiii^ 
second wife of Colonel vSevier, pointing to a youth of nearly 
sixteen, "Here, Mr. Sevier, is another of your boys who 
wants to go with his father and brother Joseph to the war ; 
but we have no horse for him, and, poor fellow, it is too 
great a distance for him to walk." Horses, indeed, were 
scarce, the Indians having stolen many of them from the 
settlers,' but young James Sevier, with or without a horse, 
went on the expedition. 

Colonel Sevier endeavored to borrow money on his 
private responsibility, to lit out his men for this distant 
service — for there were a few traders in the country who 
had small supplies of goods. What litUe money the people 
had saved, had been expended to the last dollar to the 
Entry Taker of Sullivan County, John Adair, the State 
oflicer, for the sate of the North Carolina lands — Uie same 
person, doubtless, whom Colonel Shelby had sent as his 
express to Colonel Arthur Campbell. Sevier waited upon 
him, and suggested that the public money in his possession 
be advanced to meet the military exigencies at this critical 
juncture. His reply was worthy of t'le man and the times: 
"Colonel Sevier," said' he, " 1 have no authority by law to 
make that disposition of this mone}' ; it belongs to the 
impoverished treasury of North Carolina, and I dare not 
appropriate^ a cent of it to any purpose ; but, if the country is 
over-run by the British, our liberty is gone. Let the money 
go, too. Take it. If the enemy, by its use, is driven from 
the country, I can trust that country to justify and vindicate 
mv conduct — so take it."* Thus between twel\-e and thirteen 
thousand dollars were obtained, ammunition and necessary 
equipments secured. Colonels Sevier and Shelby pledging 
themselves to see the loan refunded or legalized by an act 
of the Legislature, which they elTected at the earliest prac- 
ticable moment. t 

♦This sturdy patriot subsetiucntly Rettled in Knfx County, Tennessee, where he died 
in April. 1S27. at the ajic «( ninety-five years. 
fRamsey's Tennessee, 226. 

11; '' 







m 1125 

!: 1^ liiio 

















On Monday, the twenty-fifth of September, at the pUice 
of rendezvous, at the Sycamore Fhits or Shoals, at the foot 
of the Yellow Mountain, on the Watauga, about three miles 
below tlie present village of Elizabethtown, Colonel Camp- 
bell's two hundred men assembled, together with Colonel 
Shelby's and Lieutenant-Colonel Sevier's regiments of two 
hundred and forty men each. There McDowell's party had 
been for some time in camp ; but Colonel McDowell him- 
self, as soon as the expedition had been resolved on, hurried 
with die glad news over the mountains, to encourage the 
people, obtain intelligence of Ferguson's movements, and 
hasten the march of Colonel Cleveland and the gallant men 
of Wilkes and Surr}'. While yet in camp, all hearts were 
gladilened by the unexpected arrival of Colonel Arthur 
Campbell, with two hundred more men from his County, 
fearinix the assembled force mii-ht not be sullicient for the 
important service they had undertaken ; and uniting these 
new recruits with the others, this patriotic officer imniedi- 
atel}- returned home to anxiously watch the frontiers of 
Holslon, now so largely stripped of their natural defenders.* 

Mostly armed with the Deckardf riffe, in the use of 
wliicli they were expert alike against Indians and beasts of 
the forest, they regarded themselves the equals of Ferguson 
and his practiced riflemen and musketeers. They were 
little encumbered with baggage — each with a blanket, a 
cup Iw his side, with which to quench his thirst from the 
mountain streams, and a wallet of provisions, the latter 
principally of parched corn meal, mixed, as it generally 
was, with maple sugar, making a very agreeable repast, 
and withal full of nourishment. An occasional skillet was 
taken along for a mess, in which to warm up in water their 
parched meal, and cook such wild or other meat as fortune 

'■''MS. statement of the Kinf' ^[ollnt;lill Kvpedition. by one of Camphcll's men— the 
writer nut known — sent nie l)y the hue (Invern'ir Daviil Ciinpln-ll. of Aliin.i;(lon. Virginia. 

■j- A rentnry .tgo the Deckarii or Dickert rifle was larjjely manufactured at I.ancaster, 
Pennsylvania, by a person of that name. It was, for that period, a gun of rcm.irkalile pre- 
cisimi for a long shot, spiral grooved, with a barrel .some thirty inches long, and with its 
stock some three and a half or four feet, carrying bullets varying from thirty to seventy 
to the pound of lead. The owner of a Deckard rifle at that day rejoiced in its possession. 


■ V' : 




should throw in their wuv. The horses, of course, had to 
pick tlieir Hving, and were hoppled out, of nights, to kee»> 
them from straying away. A few bee\es were driven along 
the rear f )r subsistence, but impeding the rapidity of the 
march, the}- were abandoned after the first day's journey. 

Early on the twenty-sixth of September, the little army 
was ready to take up its line of march over mountains and 
through forests, and the Rev. Samuel Doak, the pioneer 
clergyman of the Watauga settlements, being present, in- 
voked, betbre their departiux', the Divine protection and 
guidance, accompanied with a few stirring remarks befitting 
the occasion, closing with the Bible quotation, "The sword 
of the Lord and of Gideon ;" when the sturdy, Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians ai'ound him, clodied in their tidy hunting- 
shirts, and leaning upon their rilles in an attitude of respect- 
ful attention, shouted in patriotic acclaim: "The sword 
of the Lord and of our Gideons ! " * 

Then mounting their horses, for the most of them were 
prfivided with hardy animals, they commenced their long 
and diflicult march. They would appear to have had some 
trouble in getting their beeves started, and probabh^ tarried 
for Uieir mid-day lunch, at Matthew Talbot's Mill, now 
kn(!wn as Clark's Mill, on Gap creek, only three miles 
from the Sycamore Shoals. Thence up Gap creek to its 
head, when they bore somewhat to the left, crossing Little 
Doe river, reaching the noted "Resting Place," at the 
Shelving Rock, about a mile beyond the Crab Orchard, 
where, after a march of some twenty miles that day, they 
took up their camp for the night. Big Doe river, a bold 
and limjMd mountain stream, flowing hard b}-, aflbrded the 
campers, their horses and beef cattle, abundance of pure 
and refreshing water. f Here, a man of the name Miller 
resided, who shod several of the horses of the part}-. 

<"■ This,'" writes the venerable historian, Dr. J. (j. M. Ramsey, "is the tradition of 
the country, and I fully believe it."— MS. Icttir. June, iS8o 

vlt is not altogether certain that the over-moiint.iin men campecl here the first night ; 
but such is the tradition, and such the probabilities. If they did not, then they went on 
beyond the mountain summit, accomplishing some twenty-eight miles, which, with the 
trouble of driving cattli., would seem quite impml able. It is only by concluding that 



The next morning, Wednesda}-, the twenty-seventh, 
probably weary of driving the cattle, some ot" which had 
stampeded, they killed such as were necessary lor a tempo- 
rary supply ot" meat, thus considerably delaying the march 
that day. Relieved of this encumbrance, they pressed for- 
ward some four miles, when they reached the base of 
the Yellow and Roan Mountains. "The next day" 
— evidently after leaving the Sycamore Shoals, — says 
Ensign Robert Campbell's diary, "we ascended the moun- 
tain ;" which they did, following tile well-known Bright" s 
Trace, throogh a gap between the Yellow Mountain on the 
north, and Roan Mountain on the south. The ascent was 
not very didicult along a common foot-path. As the}' 
receded from the lovely and verdant Crab Orchard valley, 
" they found," sa\'s Campbell's diary, "the sides and top 
of the mountain covered with snow, shoe-mouth deep ; and 
on the summit," adds the same diarist, "there were about 
a hundred acres of beautii'ul table-land, in which a spring 
issued, ran through it, and over into the Watauga." Here 
the volunteers paraded, under their respective commanders, 
and were ordered to discharge their rifles ; and such was 
the rarity of the atmosphere, that there was little or no 
report.* This body of table-land on die summit of the 
mountain has long been known as " The Bald Place, ^^ or, 
" The Bald of the I'elhnvr 

An incident transpired while the troops were at "the 
Bald" that exerted no small influence on the campaign. 
Two of Sevier's men, James Crawford and Samuel Cham- 
bers, here deserted ; and when they were missed, and their 
object suspected — that of apprising F rgus i? of the ap- 
proach of the mountain men — instead of bearing to the 

they camped nt (he celebrated "Resting Place," nn the ihrIu nf the twenty-sixth, 
wo can reconcile Camphell's diary and the traditions of "'.le oldest and best informed 
people alcin;; the route, as to the other campint; places ti'.l they reached the Catawba, on 
the nij,'ht f the thirtieth, as stated by Campbell. Shelby, and Cleveland, in the ofTiciaJ 
report of the expedition, and by Shelby in hi-; sev'eral narratives. 

*MS. letter of Dr. J. C. M. Ramsey, Inly 13, i83o. "This fact," adds the Doctor, 
"was related to me by several of the old King's Mountain soldiers," 


•:l 1 



right, as they had designed, the troops took the left hand, 
or more nordierly route, hoping thereby to confuse the 
enemy should they send spies on the southern trail, and 
make no discoveries.* 

After the parade and refreshments,! the day was well-nigh 
spent, and the mountaineers passed on a couple of miles de- 
scending the eastern slope of the mountains into Elk Hollow 
— a slight depression between the Yellow and Roan moun- 
tains, rather than a gap ; and here, at a fine spring flowing 
into Roaring creek, the}- took up their camp for the night. + 

Descending Roaring creek, on the twenty-eighth, four 
miles, they reached its confluence with the North Toe 
river, and a mile below they passed Bright's place, now 
Avery's ; and thence down the Toe to the noted spring 
on the Davenport place, since Tate's, and now known as 
Child's place, a little distance west of the stream, where 
they probably rested at noonday. Some thirty years ago 
an old sword was found near this spring, supposed to have 
been lost by some of the mountaineers. § As they de- 
scended from the moimtains, they reached a country 
covered with verdure, where the}'^ enjoyed an atmosphere 
of almost summer mildness. The\" followed the ravines 
along the streams the most of the way, but over a very 
rough, ston}- route — exceedingh' difficult, and not unfre- 
quently dangerous, for horses to pursue. 

The mountain scenerv alonu their route is scarcelv ex- 
ceeded for wildness and romantic grandeur, in any other 
part of the countrv — several of the towering peaks, among 
the loftiest in the United States, exceeding six thousand 

♦Haywood's Tennessee, on aiitliority of Colonel Sl-.ell)y, says this desertion occurred 
on "the top" of the mountain ; and Itohert Campbell, in his King's Mountain Narratives, 
states that the deserters "left the army on the Yellow mountain;" and Dr. Ramsey 
practically confirms these statements by assertini; that it transpired on the sccnnd day. 

t Captain Christopher Taylor, of Sevier's regiment, states, in his [icnsion deposition, 
that in a conference of the officers, held on Yellow Mountain. Colonel Campbell was ap- 
pointed to the chief command. No other acco\int confirms this st.itement. and Captain 
Taylor must ha\c had in mind the subsequent action to that effect. 

t Campbell's diary; MS. correspondence of the late ci-Governor David Campbell, 
and of Hon. \Vm. H. Carter. 

I MS. letter of W. A. McC.all. Aug. 15, 1880. 




five hundred feet in height. The bright, rushing waters 
lumbhng over tlieir rocky beds, and the lofty bhie moun- 
tains in the distance, present a weird, dreamy, bewilderirig 
appearance. " Here," says a graphic writer on the mountain 
region of Nortli CaroHna, "if we were to meet an army 
with music and banners, we would hardly notice it; man, 
and all his works, and all his devices, are sinking into 
insignificance. We feel that we are approaching nearer 
and nearer to the Almighty Architect. We feel in all 
things about us the presence of the great Creator. A sense 
of awe and reverence comes over us, and we expect to lind 
in this stupendous temple we are approaching, none but 
men of pure hearts and benignant minds. But, by degrees, 
as we clamber up the winding hill, the sensation of awe 
gives way — new scenes of beauty and grandeur open upon 
our ravished vision — and a midtitude of emotions swell 
within our hearts. We are dazzled, bewildered, and ex- 
cited, we know not how, nor w^hy ; our souls expand and 
swim through the immensit}^ before and around us, and our 
being seems merged in the infinite and glorious works of 
God. This is the country of the fairies ; and here they 
have their shaded dells, their mock mountains, and their 
green valleys, thrown into ten thousand shapes of beaut}-. 
But higher up are the Titan hills ; and when we get among 
them, we will find the diflercnce between the abodes of the 
sjiants and their elfin neiirhbors." 

After a hard day's march fen- man and beast, they at 
length reached Cathey's, or Cathoo's, plantation — since 
Cathey's mill, at the mouth of Grassy creek, a small 
eastern tributary of North Toe river ; and here they rested 
for the night. t Some twenty miles were accomplished this 
day. Their parched corn meal, and, peradventure. some 

* C. H. Wiley's Xorth Carolina Render, 68, 77. 

vCampliell's diary. The MS. correspondence of Thomas D. Vance. W. A. McCall, 
Hon. Wm R. Carter, \V H, Allis, O. W. Crawford. Dr. J. C. Newland, Hon. J. C. Har- 
per, Colonel Samuel McPowcll Tate. Hon. C. A. Cilley, Mrs. Mary A. Chamhers, Dr. J. 
Cf. M. Ramsey, and M.ajor T. S. Webb, lias been of essential importance in helping to de- 
termine and describe the route and its localities of the King's Mountain men. 




remaining beef rations, formed a refreshing repast, with 
appetites sharpened by the rough exercise of so tedious 
a jaunt ov'.ir hills and dales, and rocks, and mountain 

On Friday, the t\vent\- ninth, the patriot army pursued 
its \vindin<>" wav up the valley of Grassv creek to its 
head, some eight or nine miles, when they passed through 
Gillespie's Gap in the Blue Ridge ; emerging from which 
they joyfully beheld, here and there, in the distance, in 
the mountain coves and rich valleys of the heads of the 
Upper Catawba, the advanced settlements of the adven- 
turous pioneers. Mere the troops divided — Campbell's men, 
at least, going six or seven miles south to Henry Gillespie's, 
and a little below to Colonel William Woflbrd's Fort, both 
in Turke}' Cove ; while the others pursued the old trace in 
an easterly direction, about the same distance, to the North 
Cove, on the North Fork of the Catawba, where they 
camped ft>r the night in the woods, on the bank of that 
stream, just above the mouth of Hunnycut's creek. On a 
large beech tree, at this camp, several of the oflicers cut 
their names,* among them Colonel Charles McDowell ; 
who had, by arrangement, st^veral days preceded tlie troops 
from the camp of the Burke and Rutherford fugitives on the 

At this point Colonel McDowell rejoined his over- 
mountain friends, imparting to them such vague and un- 
certain intelligence as he had been able to learn of Fergu- 
son and his movements. Cohmel McDowell had repaired 
to his Qiiaker Meadow home, and exerted himself, by 
sending messengers in every direction, to rouse the people ; 
he had despatched James Blair, as an express, to hasten 
forward Colonel Cleveland with die men of Wilkes and 
Surrv. Blair reached Fort Detiance, a distance of some 
thirty miles, where he probably met Cleveland and his men 

*This venerRble tree, :il)Out 1835, was accidentally charred l)y burning logs, in clear- 
ing land, cansing it to die. W. A. McCall. who still resides there, saw the tree and read 
the names many times. 




advancing ; but he did not accomplish Ids ndssion without 
inipeiiiHn<^ his life, for he was wounded by a stealthy Tor}' 
by the wa}-.* 

Colonel Campbell's party visited the Turkey Cove settle- 
ment, though some miles out of the way, with a view to 
ifainiuL^ inlelliiience. llenrv Gillespie, near whose cabin 
some of the troops camped, a hardy Irishman, who had 
perhaps been a dozen years in the country, and from 
whom the neighboring Gap took its name, w\^s acting a 
neutral part in i e war — probabh', i» mti his exposed situa- 
tion, as his only recourse to save himself and family from 
destruction by the Indians, instigated, as the}' were, by 
British emissaries stationed among them. Gillespie was 
kept at camp during the night ; but he really had no secrets 
to reveal and was set at liberty the following morning. f 

Ensign Campbell's diary states: "The fourth night, the 
twent\-ninth, \\e rested at a rich Tory's, where we obtained 
an abundance of ever}' necessary refreshment." This evi- 
dently refers to Colonel WotTord, for he was wealthy, and 
well-to-do for that da}' : while his near neighbor, Gillespie, 
was poor, and his little cabin and small surrounding im- 
provements, were suflicient evidence of it. But this is a 
cruel and unjust imputation upon the memory of so worthy 
a man as William Wollbrd. Descended from ancestry trom 
llie north of England, lie was born near Rock creek, in 
then Prince George, now Montgomery County, Maryland, 
about twi^lve miles above Washington City, on the twenty- 
fifth of October, 1728. ( his early life, we have no 
knowledge; but he most likely served among the Mary- 
land troops in the French and Indian war raging on the 
frontiers of that and the neighboring Colonies in his 
yoimger days. 

Colonel Woilbrd was a man of enterprise, earl}- mi- 

*Iilair's MS. pension statement. 

■f Henry Gillespie died at tlie Turkey Cove, ahout 1812, at the age of well-nigh eighty 
years, leaving two sons, David and William. 



grating to the upper country of South CaroHna, where, on 
Pacolet river, he erected noted iron works. lie was one 
of the leading patriots ot that region, and served as Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel on Williamson's Cherokee campaign of 
1776.* Early in 1779, he was in service in pursuit of the 
fugiti\e Tory party under Colonel John Moore, when flee- 
ing from North Carolina to Georgia ; and, in the spring 
and summer of that year, he served in Georgia and South 
Carolina, under General Lincoln,! and doubtless shared in 
the battle of Stono. 

It was probabh- on the fall of Charleston, when his 
ironworks were destroyed, that he, to avoid thu I>riti.''i 
and Tories who were over-running South Carolina, retired 
to the Upper Catawba, purchasing a Hue tract of nine 
hundred acres, with improvements, of one Armstrong, an 
enterprising pioneer in the Turkey Cove. At his new 
home, he erected a fort for his own and neighbors' pro- 
tection against the Indians, and built a snudl grist-mill. It 
is barely possible that Colonel Wollbrd may have been 
prevailed upon by the frontier settlers of Burke count}', to 
imite with Captain John Carson and others, to take pro- 
tection from Colonel Ferguson when he invaded the 
Ujiper Catawba valley, mereh- as a temporary rnsc to pre- 
serve their stock and other property from those rapacious 
plunderers. But of this, there is no evidence, save the 
vague allusion of Ensign Campbell. At all events. Colonel 
WoHbrd was no Tory, and never lifted a linger against his 
countr}'. It is quite evident, that Colonel Campbell gained 
no important intelligence from either Colonel Woflbrd or 
Henry Gillespie, simply because the}- were not the men to 
have confided to them the secrets of the Loyalists, and con- 
sequently had nothing to impart. + 

*Dr. John Whclchel's MS. pension statement. 

tCapt. Mattlicw Patton's MS. pension statement. 

J Colonel WofTorcl suliseqiienily K'^ve much attention to the surveying of lands ; and, 
several years after the war, removed to what is now Habersham county, denrgia, where he 
became an influential citizen, and died near Toccoa Falls, about 1823, at the age of about 

a a 




The respective divisions — tlie one at the Turkey Cove, 
and the other at the North Cove — had marched soinelifteen 
miles this day. Colonel Charles McDowell must have been 
able to inform the troops, whom he happily m(.'t at the 
North Cove, that Ferguson was jet at and near Gilbert 
Town ; that Cleveland and Winston, at the head of the 
Wilkes and Surry men, were approaching in strong force; 
and that the South Carolina parties under Lace}' and 
Ilill, and Williams' separate corps, were at no great dis- 
tance. That Ferguson was still reposing in fancied se- 
curity within striking distance, and that strong Whig re- 
inforcements were at Land, were matters of good omen ; 
and tended, in no small degree, to encourage and inspirit 
the patriots in their combined efforts and self-denials to 
rid their suHering country of a powerful, invading foe. 

On Saturday morning, the thirtieth of the mo. ''i, 
the troops at the North Cove took up t'leir line of march, 
passing over Silver and Linville mountains, then along a 
dividing ridge, and down Paddie's creek to the Catawba. 
They probably rested at mid-day, delaying a while for the 
detachment from Turkc}' Cove, who had several miles 
farther to mi rch in order to overtake thcj. When re- 
united, and refreshed, they pushed on, as the old trail then 
ran, from die mouUi of Paddie's creek, down the north- 
west bank of the Catawba, crossing the mouth of Linville 
river,* and thence to the Qiuiker Meadows, the noted home 

ninety-five years, being alile to read and write without spectacles to the last. Oeneral 
Wm T. WofTord. of n.irtnw county, Georfiia, is liis great grandson. 

A daimhter of Colonel WofTords was, in after years, married to David Gillespie, the old- 
est son of Henry C,illP5pie. David C.illespie was a youth of some fourteen years when the 
over-mountain men marched to Kind's Mountain. All throuRh life he was very observant, 
and possessed a most retentive memory ; and from him these facts were derived ahout a 
portion of the mountaineers goinR to Turkey Cove, ami the others to the North Cove, and 
ahout the detention of his father in camp over ni^ht. We are indebted to Wm. A, 
McCall. of North Cove, for these traditions which he had from his grandfather, David 
C.illcsjiie, and to some extent, corroborated by Arthur MrF.\l!. an old hunter of the Kevo- 
lutionary period, who frequently made his home with ('■illespie. At the venerable age 
of about ninety-two, David Ciillesiiie died in Turkey Cove, in 1859. 

*This fine mount.iin stream was named from this circumstance. In the latter part of 
the summer of 1766, William Linville, his son. and a voung man, had gone from the lower 
Yadkin to this river to hunt, where they were surprised by a party of Indians, the two 



of Colonel Charles and Maior Joseph McDowell. Here 
they encamped for thi> night, after a lonj^ and wearisome 
march, especially on the part of Campbell's corps, who had 
accomplished well-ni<(h thirty-one miles this day, and the 
others about twenty-three.* Tlie McDowells did all within 
their power to render the mountaineers comfortable around 
their cheerful camp-fuvs — Major McDowell particularl}- 
bi(Ulin<,r them to freely avail themselves of his drv rails 
in kindlinn; their lires for their evening repast, and for their 
night's enjoyment. t 

Here they had the joyous satisfaction of being joined 
by the troops from Wilkes and Surry, under the leader- 
ship of Cleveland and Winston — reported at the time, for 
effect, at eight hundred, but really numbering only three 
hundred and lifty. When the people of the Yadkin region 
heard of Ferguson's advance into Burke count}-, and of 
the engagement so near them, at the head of Cane creek, 
between McDowell and the British and Tory forces, it 
exerted a powerful influence in arousing them for active ser- 
vice. Some of them, under Colonel Cleveland, had been 
on the head of New river, suppressing the Tory insurrec- 
tion in that quarter ; and when they received tidings of the 
approach of the over-mountain men, they were already em- 
bodied, waiting to march at the tap of the dnim — if not, 
indeed, actuall}- en route to join their dii-tant brethren. 
WVst from Wilkesboro, some eight or ten miles, they crossed 
the Yadkin at the mouth of W^arrior creek; thence bearing 
to the south-west, some eighteen or twcnt}' miles, thej' 

I.iiiviUcs killed, tho otlier person, thoiijjh bailly wonnded, effecting his escape. 'I'lie Lin- 
villes were rel.ited to the famous Daniel Iloone. 

* "iVe are indebted to Mr. McCall for the route of march of the King's Mniint.iin men 
from the North Cove to the Qiialter Meadows, derived from his grandfather, David Gilles- 
pie. Beside Mr. McCall's tradition, John Spelts and the venerable Major Samuel G, 
BLiloclc, declare that they marched by way of Quaker Meadows and Morganton. Captain A. 
Burgin ;;.'d J. C. Whitson both of McDowell County, North Carolina, state, on the author- 
ity of aged people of the Upper Catawba valley, related to them many years since, that 
the over-mountain men assuredly took the route by the (Quaker Meadows on tlieir outward 

tMS. notes of conversations wiih John Spelts, of Marshall county, Miss., in 1844, 
a venerable survivor of Major McUowell's King's Mountain men. 



reached old Fort Dt'tiancc ; and tlu'nco soirje t'i^dit or ten 
miles across Warrior mountain, to Crider's Fort,* where 
the village of Lenoir is now located. Here Philip Evans, 
one of the Surry men, received a severe injur \- by a fall 
from his horse, which nuidered it necessary to lea\e him 
there for recovery.! 

Hut :i worse accident befell Lieutenant Larkin CK'\e- 
land, a younger brother of the Colonel, ll was some ti-n 
miles from Crider's Fort, crossing the lirushy mountain, to 
Lovelady's Ford of the Catawba. While crossing the liver, 
Twieutenant Cleveland, with the advance, after having 
passed a narrow defile between a rocky clifVand the stream, 
was shot by some concealed Tories in the clilV, severely 
wounding him in the thigh. The Loyalists had learned 
of Colonel Cleveland's march, and had resolved on his 
destruction, hoping thereby to cripple the expedition and 
possil")ly defeat its object. Colonel Cleveland and his 
brother very much resembled each other in size and 
general appearance ; and the Tories probably mistook 
the latter tor the Colonel. 

Till' men in the rear, on hearing the volley, rushed for- 
ward to surround the daring party in ambush, and, if 
possible, to elVect their capture ; but the birds had llown. 
Sending the wounded Lieutenant in a canoe up the river, 
the troops forded the stream without further trouble, and ad- 
vancing half a dozen miles, passed through Morganton — or 
what was shortK' after so named in honor of General Daniel 
Morgan, the hero of the Cowpens ; and, about two miles west 

* Hon. J. C. Harper, of Patterson, Caldwell County, N C, writes: ''Fort Crider 
was situated on a small eminence within the present limits of F.enoir. It had a hill on the 
east, and another on the west. Some forty years ago, I heard old Henry Sumter relate, 
that when the fort was built, a hunter came along, and declared it was not safe, as he could 
shoot a man in it from either of the hills. On this being disputed, a coat was hung on a 
stick within the stockade, and the hunter, at the first fire, sent his ball through it from the 
top of the western hill. It was a remarkable shot for a gun of those days.'' 

t Evans' MS. pension statement. \\x. Evans recovered in good season to aid in 
guarding the prisoners on the return of the King's Mountain men ; and to share under 
Major McDowell, in Morgan's glorious victory at the Cowpens, January 17. 1781. He 
was a native of Rowan County, N. C, born June 17, 1759! ai"l died in Greenville County, 
S. C, June 10, 1849. at the age of ninety years. 

I ' 








of tliiit point, they again reached and re-crossed the Catawba, 
meeting with a joyful rect-ption h\' the INIcDovvells and the 
mountaineers at the (^laker Meadows. I lere Lieutenant 
Clexehuid was confided lo the care of the widowed molhi-r 
of the McDowells, wlio bi-siowed ever\' attention upon the 
unfortunate otlicer. Though lie in time recovered, he was 
a cripple tor life.* 

Sunday morning, October die lirst, dawned brightly 
upon the mountaineers at tlu-ir camp, at the (^laki-r Mead- 
ows — a uratifvini'" contimialion ol the line weather that had 
enabli'd them so conilorlahly. and with such satisfactory 
progress, to pass the mountain ranges. Resuming tiieir 
march, with a better roaci, they made a more rapid advance, 
passing the Pilot mountain, near the present village of Brin- 
dletown — a noted beacon for travelers, prominently discern- 
ihli' tor many miles away. In the afternoon a rain storm 
set in, and they early encamped in a gap of the South 
mountain, near where the heads of Cane and Sihcr creeks 
interlock each other, and not very fu" Irom the scene of the 
light thrive wi'i'ks beforr, betwi'en the l?ritish and "^Pory 
forces and Colonel McDowell's party. This day's march 
numbered some eighteen miles. 

So wet did the next day, Monda\', prove, that the army 
remained in their camp. The little disordi-rs and irregu- 
larities which began io prevail among tlu' tror)ps, imaccus- 
tomed to discipline and restraint, occasiont-c'i no little un- 
easiness among the commanding ollicers. As if b\ instinct, 
the tleld otlicers of the st-veral corps met that evening for 
consultation. Colonel McDowell, as the senior ollicer, pre- 
sided. It was suggested that inasmuch as the troops were 
from ditVerent States, no one properly had the right to com- 
mand the whole, and it was important that there should be 
a military head to their organization ; and, to this end, 

*MS. statement of Klijali Callaway; and MS. letters of Sliailrach FranHin ami Jere- 
miali Cleveland — the two latter nephews of the wcinndcd Lieutenant, Callaway was a 
stout lad of some elfven years at that time, a resident of Wilkes county, and well 
aciiiiaiiiteJ with the Clevclands. 





that a messenger be sent to General Gates, at his iu'ad- 
quarti-rs, \vhere\er they niijjfht be, inforniinfjf him ol' their 
situation, and recjuestinj^f liim to send forward a general olli- 
cer to take the command. 'Phis was agreed to. 

Anything looking liki- delay was not in accordance with 
the views ot 8helb\' anil his associate olhcers — i'.\|H'dition 
and dispatch were all-important at this critical juncture. It 
was now proposed, to meet tlu' emergency, that llie corps 
commanders should conxi'Ue in council daily, to deti'rmine 
on till" measures to be pursued the ensuing da}', and appoint 
one ol" their riumlu'r as ollicer of llu> d.i\'. to jnit them in 
execution, until tliey should otherwise determine. Colonel 
Shelby, not (juite satisfied with this suggestion, observed 
that they were then within sixteen or eighteen miles of (lil- 
biMl Town, where they supposed Ferguson to be, w ho would 
ci'rtaiidy attack them if strong enough to do so, or avoid 
them, it" too weak, until he could collect more men, or ob- 
tain a reinforcemi-nt, with which they would not dari' to co]ie, 
and hence it behooved them to act with decision and 
pinmiititnde. They needed, he continued, an I'lhcient hea.d, 
anil \igorous movements; that all the commanding ollicers 
were North Carolinians save Colonel Campbell, who was 
from \'irginia ; thai he knew him to be a man of good 
sense, and warmly attached to the cause of his countr}' ; 
thai lie connnanded the largest regiment, and closed by 
proposing to make Camjibell conunanding ofllcer, until a 
general ollicer should arrive from head-quarters, and that 
they march immediately against the enemy. 

Colonel Campbell thereupon took Colonel Shelby aside 
and requested him to withdraw his name, and consent to 
serve himself. Slielbv replied that he was the youngest 
Colonel presetit — w hich was true : that he had served under 
Colonel McDowell, who was too slow for such an enter- 
prise, who would naturally take oflence should he be ele- 
vated to the connnand over him ; that while he (Shelby) 
ranked Campbell, and as the latter was the only ofllcer from 

" 1 




Virginia, if he pressed liis appointment, no one would 
object. Colonel Campbell felt the force of this reasoning, 
and consented to serve. The proposition was approved and 

Shelby's object in suggesting Colonel Campbell's ap- 
poinment, is best explained by himself. " I made the 
proposition," says L-^helby in his pamphlet, in 1823, " to 
silence the expectations of Colonel McDowell to command 
us — he being the commanding oOicer of the district we 
w^ere then in, and had commanded the armies of militia 
assembled in that quarter all the summer before against 
the same enemy. He was a brave and patriotic man, but 
we considered him too far advanced in life, and too inactive 
for the command of such an enterprise as we were engaged 
in. I was sure he would not serve under a younger oflicer 
from his own State, and hoped that his feelings would, 
in some degree, be saved by the appointment of Colonel 
Campbell." In his narrati^'e, in the American Review^ 
December, 1848, Governor Shelby makes no reference to 
McDowell's age, but simply states, that he "was too slow 
an officer" for the enterprise. 

Though Colonel Shelby speaks of McDowell's age as 
objectionable for such a service, it really deserved little, if 
anv, consideration. He was then only some thirty-seven 
years of age* — Colonel Cleveland was some years older, 
and Shelby himself, the yoimgest of the Colonels, was only 
seven years his junior. It may be curious to note, that 
"Old Put," then in active service, was twenty-five years 
older than McDowell, General Evan Shelby, the Colonel's 
father, who, the year before, commanded an important 
expedition against the Chicamauga Indian towns, was 

* There is much diversity in the authorities as to General McDowell's hirth-year. 
It is assumed, in this connection, tliat he was horn in 1743, as stated in Wheeler s Hist, of 
North Cnroliiiii, piihlished while Captain Charles Mcnowcll, a son of the C.eneral. was 
still livinR, and who is helicved to have furnished the statement. Other accounts, of a tra- 
ditional character, place his birth, one in 1740, and another in 1742 ; while his tomli-stone, 
givinK the date of his death, March 31. 1S15. says he was "about seventy years of .age." 
If this latter be true, then he was still younger, born about 1745. 

1 .■ . 



twenty-three 3'ears older, General Stark fifteen, Washing- 
ton eleven, Marion ten, Sumter at least four, and General 
Greene one. The real objection to Colonel McDowell was 
not so much his age, as his hick of tact and elllciency for 
such a command ; and, it has been hinted, moreo\er, that 
his conduct at the Cane creek allair was not without its 
iiilluence in producing the general distrust entertained of 
his litness to lead the mountain men on this important ser- 
vice. The expression was quite general, that General 
Morgan or General Davidson should be sent to take the 
command ; the former, especially, who had gained such 
renown at Saratoga, and had recently joined General 
Gates, was highly esteemed by the mountaineers.* 

Colonel McDowell, who had the good of his countr}'' 
at heart more than any title to command, submitted grace- 
fully to what was done ; but observed, that as he could not 
be permitted to command, he would, if agreeable, convey 
to head-quarters the request for a general ofllcer. This 
was warmly approved, as it was justly declared that he was 
well acquainted with the situation of the country, and could, 
better than any other, concert with General Gates a plan of 
future operations, and they would await his retin^n. The 
manner in which this was presented gratified McDowell, 
who at once set oft' on his mission, leaving his men under 
the command of his brother, Major Joseph McDowell. f 
Passing through Burke count}-, McDowell's command, par- 
ticularly, was considerably increased]: b}'^ relatives, friends 

*Tliis stntement of the action of the officers in f oiincil at the South Mountain camp is 
made up hiri;ely frJni Shelby's narratives; that in Haywoml and Ramsey's Histories o/ 
I'cnnessi'c, his pamphlet of 1823. and his Hardin arcount in the AiiiericiDi Rc7'if:i> of Decem- 
ber. 1848. The late Colonel \Vm. Martin, of Tennessee, also furnished his recollections 
as derived in conversations with Cok>nel Cleveland. John Spelts, one of the King's 
Mountain men, related several facts connected with this council. 

■j- Of the result of McDowell's mission, we have no information, save that he called at 
the camp of Lacey and Mill, and their South Carolinians, and Williams and his corps, at 
Flint Hill, a dozen miles or so to the eastward of the head of Cane creek He doubtless 
visiteil Oeneral Gates, at Hillsboro; but as the news of the King's Mountain victory 
reached there nearly as early as Colonel McDowell, there was no occasion for any action 
ill the premises. 

J Shelby's narrative, 1823. 



and neighbors; and there John Spe''!:3,§ or Continental 
Jack, as he was familiarly called b\- his associates, first 
joined Shelbys regiment, but fought under McDowell. 
Colonel Campbell now assumed tiie chief command; in 
which, however, he was to be directed and regulated by tliC 
determination of the Colonels, who were to meet every day 
for consultation. 

Everything was now arranged quite satisfactorily to the 
Whig chiefs ; and their men were full of martial ardor, 
anxious to meet the foe, coniulent of their ability, with 
their unerring rifles, to overthrow Ferguson and his Loyal- 
ist followers, even were their numbers far greater than they 
were represented. 

g MS. notes of coiiversntions wiih Spoils, in 1844. He w.ts a jolly old soldier, then in 
his ninoty-rnurth year, anU from him were derived many interesting reminiscences of the 

It I 




September— October, 1780. 

Further Gathering of the Kings Mountain Men. — Williams' North 
Carolina Recruits. — Movements of Sumter's Force under Hill and 
Lacey. — Troubles with Williams. — Manh to Flint Hill. — The 
Mountaineers at their South Mountain Camp. — Talriotic Appeals 
of the Officers to their Men. — Resuml: of Ferguson s Operations in 
the Upper Catawba Valley. — Alarming Intelligence of the Ap- 
proach of the Back Water A/en — Why Ferguson Tarried so long 
on the Frontiers. — British Scheme of Suppressing the Rebellion by 
the Gallows. — Ferguson Flees from Gilbert Town. — Sends Messen- 
gers for aid to Cornwallis and Cruger. — Frenzied Appeal to the 
Tories. — Ferguson's Breakfast Stolen by Saucy Whigs. — His 
Flight to Tate's Ferry. — Dispatch to Lord Cornwallis. — Takes 
Post on King's Alountain, and Description of it. — Motives for 
Lingering there. 

It will be remembered, that Governor Nash had granted 
to Colonel Williams, a South Carolinian, the privilege of 
organizing a corps of mounted men within the North Prov- 
ince. Under this authority , he enlisted about seventy, chiefly 
while encamped at Iliggin's plantation, 'n Rowan Count}'. 
Colonel Brandon and Major Hammond were quite active 
in this service. The call for recruits was dated September 
twenty-third; and was headed: "A call to arms I — Beef, 
bread, and potatoes." These implied promises of good 
fare were more easily made than fulfilled — probably based 
on the fact that Governor Nash had given orders to the 
commissaries of that State to furnish the party "such sup- 
plies as may be necessar}-." Colonel Hill tells us, that 
these North Carolinians who enrolled under Williams, were 
men who shirked dut}' under their own local officers : and 
besides the tempting offer of "beef, bread, and potatoes," 
Colonel Williams had furthermore promised what was re- 







gardod as still bettor in the estimation of men of easy 
virtue — the privilege of plundering the Tories of South 
Carolina of "as many negroes and horses as they might 
choose to take." 

This little force, as Major Hammond states in his pen- 
sion application, constituted "the largest portion of Wil- 
liams' conuuand at King's Mountain;" and with them the 
Colonel pushed lorward some sixty or seventy miles south- 
west of Salisbury, where, after crossing the Catawba at the 
Tuckasegie Ford, on the second of October, he found 
Sumter's command under Colonels Hill and Lacey, in the 
forks of the main ancf south branches of that stream.* This 
part}-, to the number of about two hundred and seventy, had 
retired from South Caroliiui for their own safety, and to be 
in readiness to form a junction with others whenever they 
could hope thereby to render useful service to their sufl'er- 
ing country. Williams marched into the camp of Sumter's 
men ; and as Sumter himself, and the most of his principal 
officers were still absent — the latter, endeavoring to arrange 
with Governor Rutledge with reference to the command, 
Williams probably thought it a favorable opportunity to 
read again, as he did, his commission of Brigadier, and 
with an imperious air, commanded the officers and men to 
submit to his authority. Colonel Hill frankly told him, in 
no gingerly language, that there was not an officer nor a 
man in the whole body who would, for a moment, yield 
obedience to him ; that commissioners had been sent to the 
Governor with proofs of the baseness of his conduct, as 
they regarded it, whose return was soon expected. Evi- 
dently fearing, from what he saw around him, that he 
might be subjected to worse treatment than a mere I'enunci- 

*C<iIoneI Hill's Manuscript Narrative; Major Hammond's and Andrew Floyd's pen- 
sion statements : Ci)lonel Williams' letter to General Gates, October 2, 1780, in the gazettes 
of the day, and Almon's Remevibrancer. xi. 158. 

By some unaccountable mistake, or misprint, this letter of Colonel Williams, is dated 
" Rurke County; " when all the other antliorities, Hill. Floyd. Hammond and Whelchel— 
the two latter of Williams' party— combine to show, beyond a doubt, that they were at this 
time in Lintuln County, west or south-west of Tuckasegie Ford. 



ation of words, Williams thought it prudent to beat a sale 
retreat, which he did, forming his camp some distance 
apart from the other. 

Colonels Hill and Lacey had previously designed to 
form a junction with General Davidson, of North Carolina, 
to whom they had sent an express, who gave them, in re- 
turn, information, probably derived through a niessenger from 
Colonel McDowell on his earliest return from Watauga, that 
there was, by this time, a considerable body of men from 
both sides of the mountains, marching with a view of 
measurintj swords and rilles with the redoubtable Fermison. 
With this gratifying intelligence, they crossed the Catawba 
at Beattie's Ford, and that evening received the call already 
related, from Colonel Williams. That day Colonels Gra- 
ham and Ilambright had joined the South Carolinians, with 
a small party of some sixty men from Lincoln Count}-. 

On that evening Colonel Hill suggested to Colonel 
Lacey, that, as they might have to encounter a superior 
force in a short time, they had better conciliate Colonel 
Williams, though his followers were but few, if they could 
do so without recoiinizin<r his vi<A\\. to command them. 
Lacey coincided with this view. It was therefore proposed 
that the troops shcnild be arranged into three divisions 
— the South Carolinians proper, Graham and Ilambrlghts 
party, and Williams" Ibllowers, who, by this time, would 
seem to have been joined by Captain Roebuck's company- — 
perhaps some twenty or thirty in number ; and choose a 
commanding otTicer for the whole, the orders and move- 
ments of the corps to be determined b}- all the oflicers. 
When the matter was submitted to him the next morning, 
he "spurned " the offer, as Colonel Hill informs us, renew- 
ing the intimation, that by virtue of his Brigadier's com- 
mission, he would command the whole. He was plainly 
told, that if he would not accept the honorable offer made 
him, he should absent himself, and not attempt to march 
with the South Carolina and Lincoln County men, or the 


;j I 






consequences might be more serious thiin would be agree- 
able to him. Seeing no prospect of carrying his point, 
Williams linally acceded to tlie proposition, and an ollicer 
was chosen to command the whole. That day the spies 
came in with the intelligence, that the mountaiti men were 
advancing through a valli>v between a lari^e and small 
mountain — probably referring to the South Mountain, at 
the head of Cane creek. 

This party of South Carolinians and their associates 
marched through Lincoln County, crossing the upper forks 
of Dutchman's creek, proceeding on to Ramsour's Mill, 
on the South Fork of Catawba ; thence bearing some- 
what south-westwardly, crossing BulTalo and First Broad 
rivers, to Flint Hill* — now sometimes known as Cherry 
Mountain, in the eastern part of Rutherford County — a 
great place of modern siunmer resort, where cherries in 
their season abound. f From the flinty rocks along the 
mountain sides gush many clear and cool springs, the 
heads of neighboring streams. The hill was covered with 
timber, as was doubtless the surrounding countr}-, rendering 
the locality a most inviting camping ground. X Here, on the 
third of Octobc the South Carolinians, the Lincoln men, 
and Williams' J^rty, took up their temporary quarters. On 
the da}- of their arrival at Flint Hill, Colonel McDowell 
called on them while on his mission to IIillsboro;§ but the 
designs of the mountain men to make a push for Ferguson 
were not fully resolved on till after the Colonel's departure. 
Ilis intelligence, therefore, was not sufficiently decisive to 
warrant them in taking up their line of march in an}- direc- 
tion ; and so they patiently awaited furdier developments 
of the plans and movements of the mountaineers. 

Let us return to the mountain men whom we left in camp 

*MS. pensinn statements nf Dr. John \V)ickhel. of Williams' party, an J Andrew 
Floyd, of Gralinm's men. 

t Colonel J. R Logan's MS. correspondence. 

JMS. letter of W.T.Twitty. 

g Shelby's narrative in AiiirHcan Rn'ie-.v, December, 1848. 



in the ^'ap al South Mountain, some sixteen or eighteen 
miles north of (lilhert Town. It was now supposed tliat 
the decisive contest between tlie Tories of liie VV'esiern 
Carolinas and their \Vhi<^ antai^onists woukl be fought at 
that phice. Tlie ollicers of the mountaineers were more or 
less experienced, and felt an abiding confidence of success. 
Thinking it a good occasion, before taking up the line of 
march on the morning of October the third, to address a 
few stirring words to the patriotic ami}-. Colonel Cleve- 
land requested the troops to form a circle, and he "would 
tell them the news," as he expressed it. Though a rough, 
uncouth frontiersman, and weighing at this time full}- two 
lumdreil .md lifty pounds, Cleveland possessed the happy 
facult}' of inspiring men with much of his own indomitable 
spirit. Colonel Sevier was active in getting the men into 
form, assuring them that they would hear something that 
would interest them. Cleveland came within the circle, 
accompanied by Campbell, Shelby, Sevier, McDowell, 
Winston, and other oflicers ; and taking ofl' his hat, said 
with much freedom and eflect : 

" Now, m}- brave fellovs, I have come to tell you the 
news. The eneni}- is at hand, and we must up and at 
them. Now is the time for every man of ^ ou to do his 
country a priceless service — such as shall lead your 
children to exult in the fact that their fathers were the 
conquerors of Ferguson. When the pinch comes, I shaH 
be with you. But if any of you shrink from sharing in the 
batde and the glory, you can now have the opportunity 
of backing out, and leaving ; and you shall have a few 
minutes for considering the matter."' 

"Well, my good fellows." inquired Major McDowell, 
with a winning smile on his countenance, "what kind of a 
story will you, who back out, have to relate when you get 
home, leaving your braver comrades to fight the battle, and 
gain the victory?" 

"You have all been informed of the ofFer." said Shelby ; 




*' you who desire to decline it, will, when the word is j^iven, 
march three steps to llie rear, and stand, prior to which a 
lew more mimiti'S will he granted you lor consideration." 
At lenj^th the word was given hy tlu' ollicers to their re- 
spective commands, that "those who desin-d to hack out 
would step three paces in the rear." Not a man accepted 
the unjKilriotic privilege. A murmur of applause arose 
from the men on every hand, who seemed to he proud of 
each other, that there weri' no slinks nor cowards among 
their numher. " I am heartily glad," said Shelhy, "to see 
you to a man resolve to meet and light your country's foes. 
When we encounter the enemy, don't wait for the word of 
command. Let each one of you be your own oflicer, and 
do the very best you can, taking every care you can of 
yourselves, and availing yourselves of every advantage that 
chance may throw in your way. If in the woods, shelter 
yoiu'selves, and give them Indian play ; advance from tree 
to tree, pressing the enemy and killing and disabling all 
vou can. Your ollicers will shrink fiom no danger — they 
will be constantly with you, and the moment the enemy give 
way, be on the alert, and strictly obe}' orders." * 

These appeals to the mountain men were adroitly put, 
and had a good eflect. Each soldier felt that he could im- 
plicitly rely on his fellows to stand by him to the last. The 
troops were now dismissed, with directions to be read}' to 
march in three hours — and have provisions pri'pareil for 
two meals, and placed in their knapsacks. Cleveland and 
McDowell seem to have obtained some liquor, and added 
that " when the men were ready for the march, they should 
have a 'treat.' " f They marched down Cane creek a few 
mile?, making slow progress, and encamped for the night 
with the usual muirds on dutv. The next dav, October the 
fourth, they renewed the march, fording and re-fording 
Cane creek many times, as the trail then ran, and at night 

■■'MS. notes of conversations with John Spelts, whose inLinory of this gathering, and 
llic remark-, of Cleveland, McDowell and Shelby, was clear and vivid, 
t Spelts' recollections. 



roaclu'd tho noighborhond of its mouth, iti the roifion of 
GilbiTl Town. "^I'lu-y k-arnccl lliis iliiy iVoin Jonatlian 
Hampton, that Ft'ij^uson had retreated from (Jilbert Town : 
and also received information tliat it was his purpose to 
evade an engagement with them.* 

In order 'o give a proper view of tlie movements of the 
opposing parties, it is now necessary to recur to l'\'rguson 
and his Tory folh)wers. It will be remembered, that Fi-rgu- 
son's troops made an excursion, during tiie month of S«pleiii- 
ber, into the Upper Catawba Valley, in then IJurke, now 
McDowell County ; and that several of the patriots, Captain 
John Carson among them, were prevailed on b\' tlu' ^Vilig 
leaders to take protection, simplv as a ruse by which to 
save as much of the slock of the country as possible. Tiie 
scheme worked to a charm, not merely in benetiling the 
Whigs, but by Captain Carson's shrewd management, it 
produced, in the end, a telling ellect on the few Tories of 
that region. Ferguson began to suspect that Carson and 
his frii'iuls were deceiving him, and saving more cattle than 
probably belonged to them, and resolved thai lie would nt)t 
be thus foiled by such backwooils diplomacy. So he 
fitted out a party from camp to go in quest of bee\i's thus 
attempted to be smuggled out of harm's way, and lav in a 
good supply of meat. Carson accompanied the foraging 
expediticni. A large herd was found roaming about the 
extensive cane-brakes, where David Grei-nlee since ri'sided : 
but Carson was close-moulhetl about their ownershij) until 
the Tory party had slaughtered over a hundred head of tine 
young cattle, when he quietly observed, ihat he expected 
that they were the property of Joseph Brown, Dement, and 
Johnstone, who had joined Ferguson, and were then in his 
camj-). These men got wind of the transaction, made in- 
quiries, and ascertained that it was indeed their stock that 
had been so unceremoniously appropriated for his Majestv's 
troops. They were not a little chop-fallen and disgusted, 

♦General Joseph Graham's narrative; MS. correspondence with Jonathan lii^inpton, Jr. 

> '-%«?<)(*■;■ 


II i 

n I 







ami tilt! aHliir was soon noised abroad, and had quite a 
dispiriting elll-ct upon the LoyaHsts of the country. Fer- 
guson cleclari'd that tiie Rebels had out witteil him.* 

A htlle incident, worthy of rehition, occurred while the 
JJritish troops were encamped at i)avidst>n's place, since 
Mclntyre's, two niiles wist of Captain Carson's. A soldier 
was tempted to kill a chicken and enjoy a savory meal, but 
lu- liappened to be discovered by Mrs. Davidson, who 
promptly rejiorled the theft to I'^ertruson. The IJritish 
commauiler had tlu- culi^rit immediati-h- punished, and tra^e 


the good lady a dollar in compensation for the loss.f This 
act was certaiidy creditable to Ferguson's sense of justice ; 
but it was, like an oasis in the di'scrt. a circumstance of 
very unlVequent occurrence. 

Returning from this excursion, Ferguson and his Tory 
marauders campinl a while at the Whiti" Oak vSpiing. near 
Brindletown. Their camp was in close proximity to the 
lofty peak known in al' that region "is Pilot Mountain, almost 
isolated in the midst of a comparatively level country — 
so named, as tradition has it, from its having been the land- 
mark of the Indians in their wanderings, and the guide by 
which the Torv foraging parties, in 1780, directed tluir 
course when returning iVom their plundering expeditions. 
One of these parties captured Robert Campbell, too old for 
active service, while at breakfast, at his home on Camp 
Creek, twelve miles north-east of Rutherfordton, and con- 
veyed him to the camp at White Oak vSpring. 

Reference has heretofore been made to the light at 
Cowan's Ford, on -Cane creek. One traditon* places die 

* MS. narrative of Vance and McDowell, preserved hy Robert Henry. 

vMS. letter of Governor D. L. Swain, nfCliapel Hill. North t'arolina. Fchrnary 8th. 
1854, to General John G. I'.yniini, on authority of O. M. Smith, of Asheville. North Caro- 
lina, a grandson of ^trs Davidson, communicated hy Rev. W. S. I'ynuni, of Winston, 
Nortli Carolina. 

} MS. correspondence of Wm. I,. Twitty. who derived the tradition from W'ni. Mon- 
teith. and he from Wni. Watson, a worthy Revolutionary hero who was in the fi«ht, and 
who died in 1S34, at the vunerahle a^e of ninety-five years. It may l>c added, in this con- 
nection. th.Tt old Wm. Marshall, in his lifetime pl.iced several lartje blocks of granite on 
the spot where this contest is said to have taken placL', to identify the locality, and com- 
memorate the occurrence. This would go to prove, that some Revolutionary event must 
have transpired at that point. 



locality of this contest some throe miles above Cowan's 
Ford, at the oUl Marshall place, now Jonathan Walker's, on 
the west branch of that stream. One Hemphill was killed ; 
Captain Josi-ph White, Jolm Criswell, and Peter liranks 
were wounded in this allair.* It was a sort of drawn 
biAlle, on a small scale, neither party caring to renew the 
conllict. Fergnson and his otlicers seemed to prefer camp- 
ing on or near some iiill or elevation ; so while prosecnting 
their retreat, they took post on Uio top of a high hill at 
Samuel Amlrews' phice, twelve miles north of Gilbert 
Town. Here the stock, poultry, and every thing they 
could make nse of, were unfeelingly appropriated ; while 
the unfortunate owner, Andrews, and his Whig neighbors, 
had fled for safety to the neighboring Cane creek moun- 
tains.! At length the jaded troops, with their disabled 
Major, Dimlap, reached their old locality at Gilbert Town 
— the men encamping on Ferguson's Ilill, while Dunlap 
was conveyed to Gilbert's residence. 

On tlu; thirtieth of September,* little dreaming of any 
impending danger, Ferguson was snddenly awakened from 
his sense of security. The two Whig deserters, Crawford 
and Chambers, arrived from the camp of the mountaineers 
on the top of the Yellow Mountain, with the alarming 
intelligence of the rapid approach of " the Back Water 
men," as Ferguson termed them. He rightly judged, that 
if his threats of hanging, lire, and sword had no clTect on 
them, they were coming with a full determination to fight 
him with desperation. He had furloughed man^- (jf his 
Tory followers to visit their tamilies, under promise of 
rejoining him on short notice. He had been tarrying 
longer than he odierwise would, in the hope of intercepting 
Colonel Clarke, who had laid siege to Augusta, Georgia, 

* MS. pension statements of Captain James Withrow and Richard Ballew. 

fMS. correspondence of A. H. Long and \V. L. rwitty. 

IColoncl Criigers letter to Fergiison, of 3d Octolier, 1780, refers to the latter's dis- 
patch of September lolh, with the alarming news of " so considerable a force as you under- 
stand is coming from the mountains. '•' '■• '•' I don't see how yon can possibly [defend] 
the country and the neighborhood you are now in. The game from the mountains is just 
what I expected." — Ramsey's Tennesste, 242. 



from tla- (burlcotUh to the- .sixtc-rnth of Si'pti'inbri-, and 
NVoulcl have I'ompK'ti'ly siuxi'i'ili'd, liatl not Coloiu'l L"iui;i'r 
ariivc'il iVoin JNiiu-ty Six wilii a party ol' ii'licl', wIk'II Claikc 
was conipt'lk'il to make his \\a\ northwaid, along' the east- 
ern basi' ol" till' nionntains. 

Crugor promptly apprisril lu'rj^nson of Clarki-'s opt^r- 
ations and rotirrmcnl. In llu' puisuil, quilo a nnmbcr ot' 
till' Whigs were taki-n prisi)ners by iIk" J5iitisli anil tlu'ir 
n\)ry ami Indian allies, and si-vi-ral were sralju'il. Captain 
Asliby antl twebt' otlu'r eaplives were hangi'd niuU'r (he 
eyes ot C'olo'iel Browne, tlu' Jjritish eommandant ol Au- 
j^iista, who was t\\ iee disableil ilurin;^" the ^ei^l•, and was 
smartini;" niuler the I'lleet ol his wounds; thirtei-n who weii' 
delivered to the Cheroket's were killed by the tomahaw k, 
or b\' tortnri\s, or thiow ii into lires. ^'hirty altogi'ther weri> 
put to death by orders ol' the vindietive and inlamous 
Brow ui'. Lieutenant William Sti'\enson, one oi' Ferj^uson's 
eorps, in writing" frouj (iilbert Town, on tin- twi'nty-lilih ot" 
Seplemln'r, pi"obabl\ g'a\e wwK to tlu" |>ii'\aU'nt I'eelings of 
Ferguson's men when In- said, referring to tlu" |)ursuit and 
eipture of Clarki''s miMi : "Several ol" whom tI.eN iiiiii/r- 
it/iift'/v /nnii^ri/, (iiid //(ixw (I i^rnif nuniv inert' vrt lo /lan^-. 
ITr have iio:i< i^ot a iiirl/ioii I hut ii'ill mhui f>/if uu cud to the 
rchcllioii ill a short iiiiii\ hv hiiiii^'iii^' rz'cry iiitiii thiit has 
taken prctritidii, ami is foiiiut acting aiiiiinst ks.*"' I lang- 
ing men '' iinincitiatc/v" after they were made prisoners, 
plainlv implies that no op|iortiniit}- was giwu to prove or 
dis|irove wiiether they had e\er taken proti>etion or not. 
liut this ]iraetice of mwrrZ/V/A' /i a n^iii^- was simply carrying 
into elfeet Lord Cornwallis' inlnunan ordi-rs lo Cruger and 

I"\'rguson was quite as anxious to waylay the ri'tiinant 
of Clarke's partisans as wi'n* Crugi'r and Browne to have 
him ill) so. It is not improbable, that in lurloughing so 
many of his Tory recruits, as ho had recently done, lo visit 

♦Alinon's KemfmbruHier fur 1781, xi, .(80-81. 

4 il 


f V 


ANP /'IS ///:ro/:s. 


their homes, C'oloiu-l l'\'r^us()ii may havi' hail in view , ihal 
the'r scattered ioeaUlies mio-lii riiahle llu'in to olilain eaflv 
notiie of thi- approaih of CMaiki-'s fiij^itivi's, ami promptly 
api^rise him of it. Thus watehin;^' and (li'i;i\ inu- in oider 
to e.ntrap the ( ieori^ia patriots, proved his own spi'i'dy de- 
struction. When (he two desertiMs t"i )m Se\ iei's regiment 
hronj^ht him imellii^eiRH- of his Ihri-ali^netl dan^i'r from the 
monnlaineers, he was not slow to reali/i' iiis sitnation. lie 
sent out e.\|)ri'ssi's in all diri'Clions, slron^h' a|ipealiu<4' to 
the Royalists to liasten to his standard with a'l |->ossihle ex- 
jii'ilition, anil to lender him c\ery assistance in their power 
in this critical i'mer^enc\ . 

lie evidently had a triple ohjecl in view hv taking' this 
circuitous coiU'se. lie hoped still, peradveiiluie, to inter- 
cept Clarke; lu' anxiouly tlesiri'd to slii-n^theu his own 
force In re-inforcenK'nts, antl to tollecl on his ronti' his lur- 
loni;heil South L^arolina Loyalists, and |irevenl their heini; 
cut up in del'.il ; ami he attemjUed, moreover, to play oil" a 
piece ol" str.itei;v, which, il successful, would relieve him 
ot" the danj^er of too close a pro.ximily to those swarminnf 
mountaineers — liy misleading- tiiein as to the ohji;cti\e point 
t)f his retreat, and thus iiululi;in;;' the hope that they miuht 
make a dash, by the nearest routi', to inteiccpl him before 
his expected arrival at Ninety vSi\. Had I'V-rguson, with 
his three or loin- davs' start, taken the most direct easterly 
course to C'harlotte, he could easil\' ha\e accom|ilisheil his 
purpose, as il wasonh' some si.\t\ miles distant in a straight 
line, and could not ha\e exceeiled ei';hty by the then /i^-zauj 
routes of travel. 

Leavinjif Gilbert Town on the twenty-sewnlh ol' 
September, Fer«^uson moved to tliv (ireen liver rei^iou 
in ijuest ol' Clarke. Three days later, while in camp 
at James Step's phue, reci'ivinj^ the alarmiui; iiUelli- 
<;ence of the rapid approach ot" the Back Water men, in 
strong- force, he promptly notilied Lord Cornwallis ol" his 
tlan^er, ami of the conseijuent necessity ol" his hasteninj/ 



' If I 


<> U-\ 

towards his Lordship's head-quarters ; and probably hinting 
that a re-inforcenient or escort adequate to tlie orcasion, 
would pro\e a most opportune occiu'rence. This dispatch 
was contided to Abram Collins and Peter Qiiinn, who 
resided on the borders of the two Carolinas, and were well 
acquainted with the route. I lis injunctions to them were to 
make the utmost expedition, and deliver the letter as soon 
as possible. They took the most direct course, crossing 
Second Broad ri\'er at Webb's Ford ; thence by way of 
what is now Mooresboro to First Broad ri\er at Stice's 
Shoal ; and thence on to Collins' Mill on Butfalo, when 
they bore south-east to King's Mountain. Proceeding on 
to Alexander Henry's, a good Whig, they disguised their 
true character and mission, and there obtained refresh- 
ments. Immediately renewing their journey, with undue 
haste, excited the suspicions of Mr. Henry's family, that 
the\- were engaged in some mischief boding no good to the 
public weliare. Mr. Henry's sons, inspired by a patriotic 
feeling, proposed to follow and apprehend them ; and pur- 
sued so closely on their trail, that the miscreants got wind 
of it in the vicinity of the present Bethel Presbyterian 
Church, and secreted themselves by day, and tra\eled 
stealthih- by night, crossing the Catawba at Mason's P'erry. 
Thus was the dispatch dela3ed, so that it did not reach 
Cornwallis till the morning of the seventh of October— the 
day of Ferguson's final overthrow.* These details are 
interestinir as showin*; the cause of Cornwallis' failure to 
re-inforce Ferguson in his time of peril and need. 

In addition to this dispatch to Lord Cornwallis for suc- 
cor, Ferguson also wrote on the thirtieth of September to 

*CJcneral Joseph Ornliam's Kind's Mountain narrative gives this statement in hrief; 
many of the particulars were fiirnisliei! fur this work hy Colonel J. R. T ogan, of Cleveland 
County. North Carolina. "Collins," adds Colonel I.ogan, " after the war. entered very valu- 
able lands on Buffalo Creek in this County. He was often in jeopardy on account of his noto- 
rious connterfeitinK practices, and frequently in jail ; but always had friends enough to 
help him out. He died in poverty near Stice's Shoal on First Broad rivtr. Peter Quinn 
led a worthier life, and became the proiienitor of very numerous descendants— some of 
them, in this County, and in the West, highly respectable people." 




Colonel Criigor, commandiiijr at Ninety Six, callint^ for a 
large militia re-inforcement — how large is not stated, but 
several regiments ; when Cruger replied that there were only 
half that number* all told. And as a riisCy Ferguson gave 
out word, that he was iioinji to Ninety Six, and to give coun- 
tenance to the deception, started in that direction, making 
quite a detour southwardly from a direct course to Charlotte. 
The fond hope of capturing Clarke and his intrepid fol- 
owers was, it would seem, almost an infatuation widi 
Fer<rus(;n. lie could not bear the thought of leaving the 
country without accomplishing this important object, if it 
were possible to do so. He had his scouts oat in the direc- 
tion of the mountains, and was vigilant in seeking information 
from the quarter where Clarke was supposed to be directing 
his course. On ^Sunday, the lirst of October, while beating 
about the country, he visited Baylis Earlc's, on North 
Pacolet, a dozen miles south-west of Denard's Ford. 
Captain William Green and his company made up a part of 
this force ; and while at I'^arle's, they killed a steer, 
destroyed four or five hundred dozen sheaves of oats, and 
plundered at their pleasure, f They then marched to 
Denard's Ford,+ making their camp there for the night. 
While at this Ford, the old crossing of Broad river, half a 
mile below the present Twitt3''s Ford, and sofne eight miles 
from Gilbert Town, Ferguson issued the following energetic 
appeal — apparently almost a wail of despair — addressed 
" to the inhabitants of North Carolina," and, doubtless, 
similar ones to the Loyalists of SouUi Carolina also : 

"' Ramsey's Tennessee, 242. 

f MS. letter of Hiylis I'.arle, Septemljer nth, 1814, to Mnjur John Lewis and Jonathan 

Hampton, cc 

iiicateil by Hon. W. P. liyniim. 

J MS. letters of Hon. W. J, T. Miller, Dr. J. B. rwitty, W. L. Twitty, \. Y>. K. Miller, 
.Tnd Colonel J. R. Logan fi.\ the locality of Denard's Ford as wciirthc present Twitty's 
Ford ; and the venerable Samuel Twitty, a colored man, now eighty-six years old, and 
raised in that neighborhood, says the old ford, half a mile below the present Twitty's 
Ford and under a large oak tree that long stood there, was often pointed cut to him in hiii 
boyhood as Ferguson's crossing place. The MS. McDowell-Vance narrative says Ferguson 
crossed at Twitty's Ford, which practically conlirins these traditions. The I'lrginia 
Gazette and the old land records of Rutherford County determine the orthography of the 
name Denard, instead of Donard, as Wheeler has it in his History 0/ Xortli Cuiolina. 
Allaire's Vi'iiy also confirms this mode of spelling the name. 



" DenarcVs Ford, Broad River, 

Tryon County, October i, 1780. 

" Gendcmen : — Unless you wish to be eat up by an in- 
undation of barbarians, who have begun by murdering- an 
unarmed son before the aged latiier, and afterwards lopped 
ofThis arms, and who by their shocking crueldes and irregu- 
larities, give the best proof of their cowardice and want of 
discipline; I say, if you wish to be pinioned, robbed, and 
murdered, and .^ce your wives and daughters, in four days, 
abused by the dregs of mankind — in short, if you wish or 
deserve to live, and be;'r the name of men, grasp your 
arms in a moment and run to camp, 

"The Back Water men have crossed the mountains; 

McDowell, Hampton, Shelby, and Cleveland are at their 

head, so that 3'ou know what you have to depend upon. 

If you choose to be degraded forever and ever by a 

set of mongrels, say so at once, and let your women turn 

their backs upon you, and look out for real men to protect 


"Pat. Fjjrguson, Major 71st Regiment. '" * 


An amusing incident occurred in this neighborhood. The 
British had captured Andrew Miller, and were conveying 
him along with them. Lewis Musick, who had just returned 
from the unfortunate attack on Augusta, joined Anthony 
Twitty, an elder brother of the William Twitty who con- 
ducted himself so bravely in tlie defence of Graham's Fort, 
as formerly related ; and being well mounted, they conclu- 
ded to take a scout, and see what discoveries thev could 
make. Coming to the main road, it seemed to them as 
though the whole line of travel for more than a mile was 
alive with Red Coats, Ferguson and his dragoons among 

•■■" I'irginia Gazette, November ii, 1780; Wheeler's Xorth Ccralinn, ii, 103; Ramsey's 
Tennessee, 253. It is exceedingly climl)tfiil if any sm !i Ijarbari'ies were perpetrateil upon 
tlie Tories as Ferguson's proclamation asserts. It must have been a figment of the imagi' 
nation, invented for effect. 



them. The "Whig scouts had a good view of tlicm, and as 
they passed David Miller's place, one of the enemy and a 
negro remained behind, the latter going to the spring 
to catch his horse. The soldier — or Red Coat, as 
Twitty preferred to call him — proved to be Ferguson's 
cook ; and, it seems, was completing the preparation of 
a savory meal, to take along for the Colonel's breakfast, 
who had been too busy in getting his troops started to enjoy 
his morning's repast. Twitty and Musick retired behind a 
field, where the}' hitched their horses in some bushes, de- 
termined to get ahead of the two loiterers and capture them. 
Beside the road, there was a fallen tree, the top of which 
was yet thickl}' covered with leaves, where they secreted 
themselves, awaiting the advance oi the supposed oflicer 
and his servant. The negro, in about fifteen minutes, came 
dashing along some fift)^ yards in front. Twitty was to 
rush out and take the negro, while INIusick was to prevent 
the Red Coat in the rear from shooting him ; and the colored 
fellow was seized so suddenly that he made no defei.ce. 
Musick demanded the Red Coat to surrender, who seeming 
unwilling to do so, Twitty leveled his gun at him, with a 
severe threat if he did not instantly obey. At this moment 
the negro put spurs to his horse and escaped. 

But the white captive was dismounted, antl hurried oft' 
half a mile or more, and talking loudly by the way, as if to 
attract the attention of pursuers, he was plainly admonished 
that another utterance would forfeit his life. After that, he 
was quiet enough. Once out of danger of being overtaken, 
the Whig scouts examined their prisoner, and ascertained 
that he was Ferguson's cook — not so much of a dignitary, 
after all, as diey had supposed, and learned that Ferguson 
was then on the lookout to intercept Colonel Clarke and his 
men on their retreat from August:i. Twitty and his com- 
panion paroled the soldier-cook, retaining the captured meal, 
which they appropriated to their own use, and Ferguson lost 
his breakfast. 



Bofote releasing their prir.oner, however, the Whig 
scouts found means to pen a hurried note to Ferguson, in- 
forming liim, that when they ascertained tliat the person 
they had taken was Iiis cook, tliey conchided that the British 
conunander could not well dispense with so important a 
personage, and fheu accordingly sent him back, trusting 
that he would restore him to his butlcrship. Overtaking 
the Colonel, the cook delivered the note, cursing his eyes 
if he had not been taken prisoner by a couple of Rebel 
buggers, as he termed them, and proceeded to curse and 
denounce them at a terrible rate. Ferguson quietly re- 
strained his temper, and told him he was wrong to speak of 
them so harshly, as the}' had used him well, and permitted 
him to return after a ver^- brief captivity. Thus Andrew 
Miller, who was present, subsequently reported the inter- 


From Denard's Ford, Ferguson and his troops, accord- 
ing to Allaire's Diary, marched on Monday afternoon, the 
second, only four miles, where the}' formed a line of 
action, and lay on their arms all niglit. But the enemy they 
so coniklently expected, did not make their appearance. 
Much precious time was thus spent to no purpose. All 
this, under ordinary circumstances, would indicate in- 
decision ; but the British commander, it seems, still lingered, 
hoping to intercept Clarke and his Georgia patriots, and 
delayed for the return of his men whom he had furloughed 
to visit their families, and the hoped-for militia from the 
region of Ninety Six, and, after crossing Broad river at 
Denard's, purposely bore off to the left, instead of continu- 
ing on the direct road south to Green river en route for 
either Cowpens or Ninety Six, hoping thereby to elude the 
vi'dlance of the Back Water men. 

*MS. narrative of Anthony Twitty, written in September, 1832; MS. letters of Drs. T. 
ri. and W. L. Twitty. on authority of Mrs. Jane Toms ind others. Twitty was born in 
Chester County, Pennsylvania, November 29th, 1745, and was much engaged ir scouting 
service during the Revolution. Judge W. P. Bynuni, of Charlotte, North Carolina, kindly 
communicated Twitty's .MS. narrative. 



It is possibli*, moreover, tliat Ferguson niiglit have felt the 
necessity of feeling his wa}' cautiously out of his dilliculties ; 
that while evading the mountaineers on the one hand, he 
should not run recklessly into other dangers, "SS might be 
equally as formidable ; for Lord Cornwallis had, on the 
twenty-third of September, apprised him that Colonel 
Davie's part}' of Whig cavalry had marched against him, 
which Ferguson's apprehensions, and Tory fears, may have 
maguilied into a much larger body than eighty dragocms. 
Notliing, however, was gained b\' these tardy operations ; 
and, in these fruitless efibrts at strategy, Ferguson, luul he 
realized it, might ha\e exclaimed, with the Roman digni- 
tary, "I have lost a day!" For he could have marched 
from Denard's Ford to the neighborhood north of Cowpens 
from sunrise to sunset, instead of consuming two days in its 

Allaire's Diary informs us, that on the third, Ferguson 
marched six miles to Camp's Ford of Second Broad river, 
thence six farther to Armstrong's, on Sandy Run, where the 
troops refreshed ; then, as they reckoned distance, pushed 
on seven miles to Buffalo creek, a mile beyond whicii they 
reached Tate's plantation — making twenty miles this da}', 
the route being north of main Broad river. At Tate's, 
Ferguson tarried two full days, probably awaiting in- 
telligence as to the movements of the Whigs, which he 
doubtless received on the evening of the fifth, lor the army 
renewed its march at four o'clock on Friday morning, the 
sixth. During this day Colonel Ferguson sent the following 
dispatch to Lord Cornwallis, without date ; but the con- 
nectinj; facts fix the time as here indicated : 

"My Lord : — A doubt does not remain with regard to 
the intelligence T sent your I>ordsliip. They are since 
joined bv Clarke and Sumter * — of course are become an 

*A smnll squall of Clarke's men did. alioiit tliis time, join the mountain men; and Sum- 
ter's force, under Colonel I.acey. soon after effected ajiinction. Ferguson, probably from 
his spies and scouts, learned of those parties and their intentions. 




object of some consequence. Happily their leaders are 
obliged to leed their followers -widi such hopes, and so to 
flatter them with accounts of our weakness and fear, that, 
if necessary, I should hope for success against them myself; 
but numbers compared, that must be but doubtful. 

"1 am on m\' march towards you, by a road leading 
from Cherokee Ford, north of King's Mountain. Three 
or four hundred good soldiers, part dragoons, would finish 
the business. Soviet king must be done soon. This is their 
last push in this quarter, etc. 

"Patrick Ferguson."* 

It is evident from this di;f{-)atch, that Ferguson, when 
penning it, had no other design than to march resoluleh- 
forward and join his Lordship at Cliarlotte. Had he then 
in contemplation the taking post on King's Mountain, and 
there awaiting succor, and there deciding the mastery with 
his tireless pursuers, he would likely have indicated it in 
his letter. So he simply said : " I am on my march towards 
you, by a road leading north of King's Mountain;" and, 
at the same time, taciUy plead for a rc-inforccment, appar- 
ently aware by this time, that tlfbugh he had succeeded in 
his strategic etlbrt to throw the Back Water men off his 
trail, they were yet doggedly pursuing him. 

Lieutenant Allaire says it was sixteen miles from Tate's 
place to "Little King's Mountain." Ferguson marched 
up the old Cherokee Fcrr}- road, between the waters of 
Buffalo and King's creeks, crossing the western branch of 
this latter stream where Whisnant's mill is now situated ; 
thence on the old Qiiarry road to main King's creek ; and 
soon after crossing which, he bore off to King's Mountain. 
Or, as Reverend Robert Lathan describes it, Ferguson 
"pushed on up the ridge road between King's and Buflalo 
creeks, until he came to the forks, near Whitaker's Station, 
on the present Air-Line railroad. There he took the right 
prong, leading across King's creek, through a pass in the 


♦Almon's Remembrancer {oi 1781, xi, 280; Tarleton's CamfiaisHS, quarto edition, 193. 












mountain, and on in the direction of Yorkville. Here, a short 
(lislanie after crossing the creek, on liie ri^ht of tiie road, 
about two hundred and lil'ty ^ards from the pass,"'* he canie 
to King's Mountain. Ferguson's dispatch to Cornwallis, 
ah-eady cited, and written during the day before the battle, 
shows conclusively, that this mountain bore its prefix of 
'•King's" at that time,f antl that its subsequent occupancy 
by the King's troops had nothing to do in giving to it this 

That portion of it where the action was fought, has little 
or no claim to the distinction of a mountain. The King's 
Mountain range is about sixteen miles in length, extending 
generally from the north-east, in North Carolina, in a south- 
westerly course, sending out lateral spurs in various direc- 
tions. The principal elevation in this range, a sort of lofty, 
rocky tower, called 77/6* Pinnacle., is some six miles dis- 
tant from the battle ground. That portion of the oblong 
hill or stony ridge, now historically famous, is in York 
Count}', South Carolina, about a mile and a half south of 
the North Carolina line. It is some six hundred ^ards long, 
and about two hundred and fift}' from one base across tt) the 
other; or from sixty to one hundred and twenty wide on 
the top, tapering to the South — '-so narrow," says Mills' 
Statistics., "that a man standing on it may be shot from 
either side." Its summit was some sixty feet above the 
level of the surrounding tountry. 

Ferguson's observing eye was attracted to this com- 
manding eminence ; and regarding it as a fit camping 
place, he concluded to tarry there. This was on the even- 
ing of the sixth of October. lie apparently awaited the 
expected return of furloughed parties of Loyalists under 
Major Gibbs and others ; and he fondly hoped, too, to be 
soon re-inforced by Tarleton, and the militia from the dis- 

* Pamphlet Historical Sketch of tht Battle of King's Afoiinfu'ii. Yorkville, South 
Carolina, 1880. 

t " It timk its name " says Moultrie's Mnuoiys. " from one Kini;. who lived at the foof 
of the mount with his family." I'he name of King's Creek had also the same origin. 




a'Jjvg's mountain 


trict of Niiu'ty Six. Rejoined by his Loyalist forces, and 
strengthened by ri'-inlbrcenienls, lie no doiil)! IhiUered 
hiinseh' with j^ainin^r a crushinjf victory over the liack 
Water men, whom he never tailed to belittle, and wlioni 
he heartily ilespiseil. lie had tor monlh.s iinlirin<;l\- 
tlrilled the men under his banner ; his detachments under 
Patrick Moore, Inncs and Dunlaj), had met with 
repeated disasters, which he anxiously desired a suit- 
able opportunity to retrieve betoie joining; his Tvordship 
at Charlotti'. He pridi'd himselt" in his skill in tlu- use ol" 
lire-arms, and his success in inspiring' others with st)methin<r 
of his own feelings of invincibility ; and, above all things, 
he coveted a fitting occasit)n to put to the test his long and 
patiently drilled Loyalists, as soon as he could do so with 
a reasonable hope of success. This hope he saw in 
the expected "three or four hundred gocul soldiers — part 
dragoons" — hinting, doubtless, at Tarleton's Legion cav- 
alry,' even if the expected militia shoukl fail him ; when he 
could, in his own estimation, do up the business lor the 
daring Back Water men, and extricate himself from his 
impending danger. Cherishing such hopes, he thought it 
imwise to retire too precipitatelv to Charlotte. Such a 
retreat might betray signs of fear — suggesting, perhaps, 
that he shirked the opportunity he had long pretended to 
court, and he might thereby lose the chance of a life-time 
of disdniruishinij himself on the iflorious field of Mars, and 
winning undying honors and fame from his King and 
country. These visions of glory were too tempting, and he 
yielded to their si'ductive inlluences. "The siiuation of 
King's Mountain," said Arthur McFall, one of his Loyalist 
followers, "was so pleasing that he concluded to take post 
there, stoudy affirming that he would be able to destroy or 
capture any force the Whigs could bring against him."* '• So 
contident," says Shelby, " was Ferguson in the strength of 
his position, that he declared that the Almighty could not 

<'MS. letter of \Vm. A. McCall, to wlioni McFall made the statement, 



drive him from it." * Tin- McDowcll-Vaiici' narrative 
states, that Fertriison declareil, that "he was on Kiii'^'s 
iM(»iiiitaiii, that hf was kiiijf of that nioimtaiii, and (»od 
Ahiiighty coukl not drive him from it." This impious 
boast was tlouhtless made to encourage Ids confiding fol- 

'Inhere was a spring on the nortli-west si(U' of the moun- 
tain, one of l!ie sources of Chu'lv's Fork of IJulloek's creek, 
from winch a needful supply of water coukl he obtained, 
though not verv convenient: but tlie countrv, wild as it 
then was, was unable to furnish anvthing like the necessarv 
amount of provisions requisite' for such a body of mi'n. It 
was a stony spot, where lines coukl not easily be thrown 
up; there was, however, an abundance of wood on tlu' hill 
with which to form abatis, and defend his camp ; but Fergu- 
son took none of these ordinary military precautions, anil 
only placed his baggage-wagons along the north-eastern 
part of the mountain, in the neighborhood of his heail- 
quarters, so as to form some slight apjiearance of protection. 
And thus he remaiiuul j^uarly a whole dav, ami as Mills 
states, "inactive and exposed,"! iiwaiting the return of his 
furloughed men, and the expected succors ; but these anx- 

♦iSheUiy's narrative in Aiin-ricnn RfT'ietv. Dcccmhcr iS.(8. rorrr>hor:itef1 hvTndrt's mpitl- 
oir iif Shelby ; Colonel Hill's MS. statement; MS. notes nf conversations with James 
Sevitr and John Spelts, hoth Kind's Mountain men and (ieneral Lenoir's narrative. 

Since this chapter was put in type, Ceorge U Moore, I.I.. I)., of the Lenox Library, has 
called the authors attention to, and kindly loaned him .-» copy of a rare, if not hitherto un- 
known pamphlet, lliognifiliicil SK\-I.h, or .Uemoir of Ucitteiiixiit Coloiu-l Patrick Ferguson, 
hy Ai/aiit /•'■■rgnson, LL D., EdinburRh. 1817, in which this paragraph, relative to Colt.nel 
rerguson's retreat occurs: •• He dispatched a messenger to Lord fornwallis. to inform his 
Lordship of what had passed,— of the enemies he had to deal with,— of the route lie had 
taken to avoid them ; earnestly c.vpressinc liis wish, that hr mi'.'ht h*- enalleil to cover a 
country in which there were so many well afforted inhabitants; addinulhat for this purpose, 
he shoul I halt at King's Mountain liopinq that he might he ther^- supported by a detach, 
ment from his Lordship, and saved the necessity of anv further retreat. This letter having 
been intercepted, gave notice to the enemy of the place where Ferguson was to be foi'nd : 
and though a duplicate s.-nl oti the following day was received by I-ord Cornwallis, it cauw 
toolate to prevent the disaster which followed." 

If such a dispatch was sent to Lord Cornwallis, it must have been written .iftcr 
Ferguson had arrived at King's Mountain, and concluded to take post there. Certain it is, 
that Ferguson sent several dispatches to Lord Cornwallis after he commenced hi> retreat 
from (Gilbert 'rown, the burthen of which evidently was to express his great anxiety for a 

T Statistics 0/ South Carcliiia, i8,:6. p. 778. 





ions hopes were dooim-d to bittrr tlisappoiiitnu'iil. Iiistoad 
oftlu' coveted le-inlorci'inents, as the sihiiu'I will show, eanie 
the lialcd Haek Watt-r men, worse, it" possibK-. than were 
the MeeklenbiiriL,f iioiiu-ts to L'ornwallis and iiis army. 

His inl'atnation tor militarv ji^lorv is the (>nl\ explanation 
that can hi' given lor I't-rj^uson's conduct in iinyerin/.;- at 
King's Mountain. When he left (Jrein river, he knew 
full wi'U thai till' mountaineers, in strong force, were jiress- 
ing hard upon him, and he marched tow uds L'harlotte, 
hut not expeditiously, lie knew, too, inat the IJack 
Water men had, by their various unions, become " ol' some 
consequence," as he frankly admilled in his dispatch to 
Lord (.'<" mvallis. Concluding, therefore, thai "something 
nuist b> lone," as he expressed it, to check (he onward 
progress ol the mountain men that this was " liieii- last 
push in this ipiarter," he was not slow in properlv isti- 
mating tiie strength and prowess of his enemy ; and 
keetilv reali/ed iiis pressing need for "three or four 
hundred good soldiers," if he ho|H'd to meet and van- 
(piish the coming horde of Hack Water "barbarians." 
The possible failure of his l^ordship to receive his dis- 
patches, seems not to have entered into lu'rguson's calcula- 
tions : and he did not fully realize the dangers besetting 
him— the meshes with which the patiiots were preparing to 
entrap him. He knew, indeed, that "the Campbells were 
coming;" but the haughty Scotsman relied this time loo 
much >n the pluck and luck which had hitherto attended 
him. In his own expressive language, a direful " inunda- 
tion " was impending. Unprepared, as he was, to meet it, 
ordinary militarv prudence would have dictated that he 
should make good his retreat to Charlotte without a mo- 
ment's delay. Within some thirty-live iiiles of his Lord- 
ship's camp, he could easily have accomplished the dis- 
tance in a few hours : yet he lingered two days at Tate's, 
and one on King's Mountain, ileluded with the hope of 
trainin<f undvinir laurels, when I'ate, the lickle goddess, had 
onlv in store for him ilefeat, disaster, and death. 


AM) ITS ///:a'i)/:s. 



October, I780. 

ritK-rtiiiiity i]f /'rriiiison' s Roufr of Nr/irdf. — A siitit// l\ufy of (!<o>\i;iiVis 
join till- Mounlniii Mm.- -U7/(i; f'riiw (<7'rr r\//>//<t/ii/.- /\',/>i»/ <>! ,t 
ptitt tot Spy from IVy^iisoii' s i'liiiif. Williaiiis attrmpt to Mi\l(,t<t 
till- Mountoinrois. -I.iuiy sris tliiii /\i\i;/it. Thr Soutli ( ',i/(>//)i/<ni.\' 

txaliiititt oj Williams.-' Silii tiny, tin- Jittrst Mi 
pumir J-c/xitaoii.-.hii.'iil tit tiio ( owprns. 

II lit (.irriii riror to 
III' 'lorv, Soiiiiili IS 

-/lis ii^ 

iioiiiiiir o 

•}f Juii^iiioii, /lis lii 

iiiiii /lis (oni. Stoi V of' 

h'lrr, t/ir iiipplr Spy.- ililiiicr, t/ir iiiiiniiit;- Si out, itiipiiii^ tlir 
'lorirs.- -'//ir i'oic/uiis i otiiuil, fiii t/iir srlirtioii of Put suns, it iid 
t/icir iXuiiiliir. — .V/j,'/// Afitn /i to ( '/inoker /•'on/. — Stmyiiii; of ( 'iuii/>- 
i>i//'s Mill. — (ifcuntilli'ss I-Viirs of iiii Amhusnuti-. — (rossiiit^ of 
liiviid ri:'ir.-.'<tormy '/iiiic — fiii/ii/ ( onttitioii of Moii unit //oi srs. 

— 'lorv liijoi iihitioii. {.'lilmn's .\iiviiiluii 

/Villi of .Ittihkiiii. 

/•'iij^iisoii. ( 'o/oiii'l (,'iit/iiim /\'itiiYS. ( liionii lo iissiyjiril ( omiiiiii/il 
of t/ir I.iiuolii Mill. ]'ouiii; /'oiii/if '/ii/'iii.-J'i'i'^usoii's />iyss. — 
J'/rssiiiy toH'iVil'i t/ii- /-.iiiiiiy's ( niiip. 

Leaviii}^ lUT^iisoii, lor the lime li'-iiii>. at his cliostii 
position on KiiiLj's MoiiiUiiiii. \vc will ivtiirii to the moiiii- 
taiiit'iTs, wlioin we li'll nuamprd, on tlu' nielli ol'tlif lonilli 
oi" ( )(.tolH'r. nt-ar llu- moulli ol' Ciinc ir«'«'k, in the mM!.;lihor- 
liood ol ( lilbcit 'I'own. 'I'lu- ;,'V^;//<* tlit'N liati ln-i-ii scrkiiiff 
had lied. it was pMicrally icporlfd that l'\'ii;nson hail 
goni' sonic lilh oi- sixty mill's soulliwardlx , and later assur- 
anii's iVom two nn'n, irpri'siMiti'd that hr had diifitcd his 

coursr to 


ini'tv Six, wi 


in<"li a lMMulrc( 

1 mil 

i's awa\ 

T\n' (U'ttiuH's ol" that foil had In-rn itii-ntlv rcpairi'd and 
strcn^thiMU'd, t and it was slicMi^ly ufanisontul, it was said, 
with loin' hnndrrd n-ffnlars and some militia. Tin* proba- 
bility was that it wonid resist an assault by .small aims, and 

* Moore's /.//»' i>/ I mry, \(<. 

t 'l^irlclon's ( '<i»«/ii/'x'«.r, i'«), iH|. 




i 'I 




the mountaineers had none others ; but they were not to be 
thwarted in their purpose, for they had made many a sacri- 
fice of personal comfort, and had traveled many a weary 
mile, in order to vanquish, if possible, tlie great Tor}- 
leader of the South. They, however, learned Ferguson's 
real strength, and were determined to pursue him to Ninety 
Six, or wherever else he might see fit to go. Here, before 
renewing their march, the mountain men killed some beeves 
for a supply of fresh food. 

While Colonel Clarke, of Georgia, and his followers, 
were retreating from that unhappy country-, with their fami- 
lies, and were aiming to cross the mountains to the friendly 
Nolachucky settlements, they were met by Captain Edward 
Hampton, who informed them that Campbell, Shelby, 
Sevier, and McDowell were collecting a force with which 
to attack Ferguson. Major William Candler and Captain 
Johnston, of Clarke's part}-, filed oiV with thirty men and 
formed a junction with the mountaineers, near Gilbert 
Town.* Not very long thereafter, at what was called 
Probit's place, on Broad river. Major Chronicle, with a party 
of t\\ enty men from the South Fork of Catawba, joined the 
mountain men.f Every such addition to their numbers was 
hailed with delight ; and the whole force was, for purposes 
of policy, greatly exaggerated by the leaders, to inspire both 
their own men and the enemy with the idea of their great 
strengtli and invincibility.* 

* McCall's History of Georgia, ii, 33d. McCall mistakes in stating that Colonel Clarke 
and his OenrKia fiiKitives retired to Kentucky for the safety of their families, That is of 
itself improbable; but a MS. letter of Clarke to (General Sumter, of October 29th, 1780. 
asserts that it was to the Nulachucky settlement (hey repaired. 

t VanceMcnowcU narrative, and MS. letter of R. C. Gillam. of Ashcville, North 
Carolina, to Dr. J. H. Loyan, communicaiini; an interview with the venerable Robert 
Henry, one of Chroniile's men. 

J MS. statement of General Joseph McDowell and Colonel Pavid Vance, preserved by 
the late Hon. Robert Henry, of Buncombe county. North Carolina, 

Supposing the numbers reported correctly, the whole force assembled for the King's 
Mountain expedition did not evceed eighteen hundred and forty men. viz : Campbell's 
force. 400; Shelby's, 240; Sevier's, 240; McDowell's, 160, increased in Burke to pmliahly 
180: Cleveland and Winston's, 350; Candler's, 30; I.accy's, 270; Williams'. 70; and Ham- 
bright's, including Chronicle's, 60. Vet they were represented as numbering three thou- 
sand by M.ajor T.itc, who was in the action. See General Davidson's letter, October loth. 



Pursuing the same route Fer<ru.s()n liacl taken, they 
passed over Mountain creek and Broad river, at Denard's 
Ford, wlu-n tliey seem to have lost the trail of the fugitives, 
wliose place of detour to the left they did not happen to 
discover. They constantly sent out scouts, lest any parties 
of Tories might be roving through the country, and take 
them unawares. John Martin and Thomas Lankford, of 
Captain Joseph Cloud's company, of Cleveland's regiment, 
while out spying, were waylaid near Broad ri\er, by a 
party in ambush, who fired at them, severel}- wounding 
Martin in the head. Lankford escaped unhurt. The Tories 
captured their horses and Martin's gun, leaving Martin for 
dead. At length recovering his senses, the wounded soldier 
managed to reach the camp of his friends. The shot had 
fortunately been broken of their force by his hat, and onlv 
penetrated through the skin of his temples, and John Death- 
eridge succeeded in picking them all out of the wound. 
Unfit for further service at that time, Martin was con\eyed 

1780, Gordon's ./wcr;V(i« /fVir says, they " amounted to near three thniisand ; " and this 
was copied into the first edition of Marshall's Li/i- of II ashington. In Steadinan's Ameri- 
can War, the number is given as " upward of three thousand." Governor Shelby, in his 
Aiiierhun Reriew narrative, states that "a Whig prisoner taken by Lord Cornwallis repre- 
sented to him that the patriot force numbered three thousand riflemen ; " and other reports 
to the British at this period made the number still larger. Judge Johnson, in liis Li/e 0/ 
Grctnc, has magnified it to "near si,\ thousand." 

There is, after all, some reason to suppose that the Whig force was over-estimated in 
the ofTicial report of Campbell, Shelby, and Cleveland. Campbell's regiment, ai cording to 
Knsign Robert Campbell, one of the officers of that corps, amounted to "near four hun- 
dreil, " and Shelby'sand Sevier's together to only three hundred. The MS. account hereto- 
fore cited, written by one of Campbell's men, whose name is unknown, states that Shelby 
and Sevier's united force numbered three hundred and fifty, and McDowell's one hundred 
and fifty; that Williams', the South Carolinians, and the few Georgia troops, amounted to 
about three hundred and fifty; placing Campbell's at four hundred and fifty, and tleve- 
'ind and Winston's at four hundred— making a total of sixteen hundred. Colonel Arthur 
(."ampbell's manuscript only gives the number of McDowell's party at one hundred and 
fifty. In Shelby's narr.ilive. in the American Rerie^i', it is stated that the Williams party 
numbered " from two to three hundred refugees" which, united with the others, " made a 
muster roll of about sixteen h.indred." It was. perhaps, this total number that Major 
Tate reported to General Davidson, and which the Cieneral misunderstood as the selected 
portion for the battle. 

'■'M.'^. pension statement of Thomas Shipp. John Martin, one of the heroic soldiers of 
that part of Surry County, now constituting Stokes. North Carolina, was born in Essex 
County. Virginia, in 1756; and. in 1768, his parents settled near the Saura Mountain, in 
Stokes. During the devolution, Martin was very active, sometimes serving as a private 




The mountain men, after crossing Broad river, went on 
some two and a half miles, to what is now Alexander's Ford 
ofGreen river, accomplishing not over twelve or thirteen miles 
this ilay,the lifth of Ocloher, Many of the horses had become 
weak, crippled, and exhausted, and not a few of the Iramp- 
ers foot-sore and weary. Their progress was provokinglv 
slow, and Campbell and his fellow leaders began to realize 
it. They determined to select their best men, best horses, 
and best rifles ; and, with this chosen corps, pursue Fergu- 
son unremittingly, and overtake him, if possible, before he 
could reach any post, or receive au}^ re-inforcements. The 
Whig chiefs were not a little perplexed as to the course of 
Ferguson's retreat, and the objective point he had in view ; 
and some of the men began to exhibit signs of getting 
somewhat discouraged. But all doubts and perplexities 
were soon happily dissipated,- as we shall presently learn. 

While Ferguson was encamped at Tate's place, an old 
gentleman called on him, who disguised the object of his 
visit. The next morning, October fifth, after traveling all 
night, some twenty miles or more, Ferguson's visitor, well 
known to many of the troops as a person of veracity, 
arrived at the camp of the South Carolinians at Flint Hill, 
and iiave the followinjx information : that he had been 
several days with Colonel Ferguson, and had, by his plausi- 
ble address, succeeded in impressing the British commander 

volunteer, and sometimes as a lieiitemit, in fiKhting the British and Tories. In February, 
1776, he served a tour under Colonel Joseph Williams against the Scotch-Tories, at Cross 
creek, who were defeated just before their ; and in the fall of that year, he went on 
General Rutherford's expedition against the Cherokees. In a skirmish with the Tories, 
he wounded and captured one of their leaders, Morton, who died shortly afterwards. In 
July, 1780, he went in pu -nit of the fleeing Tory leader. Colonel Samuel I'ryan. and par- 
ticipated in the fight at Colson's. under Colonel William Lee Davidson. lint for the griev- 
ous wound he received near I'road river, he would have shared in the dangers and glories 
of King's Mount.iin. He was stationed, in September, 1781. at Guilford, and shortly after 
at Wilmington, where he heiird the joyful news of Cornwallis' surrender. 

After the war, he became a colonel in the militia ; in 1798 and 1799, he served as a mem- 
ber in the House of Commons; and was long a magistrate, presiding for thirty years in the 
County Court. He was a man of infinite humor and irony, possessing a keen perception 
of the ludicrous. Several characteristic anecdotes are preserved of him in Wheeler's 
History of Xfirth Carolina. He died at his home, near the Saura Mountain, April 5th, 
1823, leaving many children ,to inherit his virtues. The late General John Gray Bynum 
was his grandson, as is the Hon. William P. Hynuni, of Charlotte. 





with the belief that his aged visitor was a great friend to 
the Royal cause; that Ferguson, the evening before, had 
sent an express to Lord Cornwallis, at Charlotte, announc- 
ing that he knew full well that the Back Water men were 
in hot pursuit ; that he should select his ground, and boldl}' 
meet them ; that he defied God Almighty himself and all 
the Rebels out of h — 1 to overcome him ; that he had 
completed the business of his mission, in collecting and 
training the friends of the King in that quarter, so that he 
could now bring a re-inforcemtnt of upwards of a thousand 
men to the Royal army ; but as the intervening distance, 
thirty to forty miles to Charlotte, Wc^s through a d — d rebel- 
lious country, and as the Rebels were such cowardly rascals, 
that instead of meeting him in an open field, they would 
resort to ambuscades, he would, therefore, be glad if his 
Lordship woidd send Tarleton with his horse and infantry 
to escort him to head-quarters.* 

During the day, Williams and Brandon were missed 
from the camp, and Colonel Mill was informed that they 
had taken a pathway that led to the mountains. After sun- 
set they were seen to return. Colonel Ilill, who had been 
on the watch for them, now inquired where the}- had been, 
as they had not been seen the greater part of the day. At 
first, they appeared unwilling to give any satisfactory infor- 
mation. Colonel Hill insisting that the\- should, like honor- 
able men, impart whatever knowledge they may have gained, 
for the good of the whole, Williams at length acknowl- 
edged that they had visited the mountain men on their 
march south from the neighborhood of Gilbert Town, and 
had Ibund them a fine set of fellows, well armed. When asked 
further by Colonel Hill where they were to form a junction 
with them, he answered, "At the Old Iron Works, on Law- 
son's Fork." Hill remarked, that that would be marching 
directly out of the way from Ferguson ; that it was undoubt- 

* Hill's MS. narrative. Colonel Hill, recording his recollections thirty-four years after 
this event, makes the evident mistake that the old man visited Ferguson on King s 

1 Kl^i. ' 

1 ' : i;i 






i* ii 



edly the purpose of the mounUiin men to fight Ferguson, 
who had sent to CornwalHs lor Tarleton's horse and infantry 
to go to his rehet", and this re-inforcement might be expected 
in a day a two ; that, if the battle was not Ibught before 
Tarleton"s arrival, it was very certain it would not be fought 
at all ; that Ferguson, who had been liitter and cruel in his 
eflbrts to crush out the Whigs and their cause, was now in 
South Carolina, within striking distance, and it appeared as 
if Heaven had, in mercy, sent these mountain men to 
punisli this arch-enemy of the people. 

Colonel Hill states, that Williams seemed for some 
moments to labor under a sense of embarrassment ; but 
finally confessed, that he had made use of deception in 
order to direct the attention of the mountaineers to Ninety 
Six. Hill then inquired if they had any cannon with them. 
Williams said "no," and then added, that such men with 
their rifles would soon reduce that post. Colonel Hill 
relates: "I then used the freedom to tell him, that I plainl}' 
saw through his design, which was to get the armv into 
his own settlement, secure his remaining property, and 
plunder the Tories.'' In the course of the conversation, 
Williams said, with a considerable degree of warmth, that 
the North Carolinians might fight Ferguson or let it alone ; 
but it was the business of the South Carolinians to fight for 
their own country. Colonel Hill took the occasion further 
to int'orm him, that, notwithstanding he had taken such un- 
warrantable means to avoid an action with Ferguson, b\' his 
eftbrts to mislead the mountain men, he would endeavor to 
thwart his purposes. 

Leaving Williams to his own reflections. Colonel Hill at 
once inlbrmed Colonel Lace\' what the former had done — 
that, to use a huntsman's phrase, he had been putting 
their friends on the wrong scent ; that should they not be 
correctlv informed before the ensuing dav, Fermison 
might escape; and as he. Colonel Hill, was unfit to make 
a night ride, with his arm still in a sling Irom the severe 



wound he received at Hanging Rock, he desired Colonel 
Lacey to go at once to the camp of the mountaineers, as he 
was better able to travel, and give them a just representa- 
tion of Ferguson's locality, and the necessit}- for the great- 
est expedition in attacking him while yet within reach, and 
before 'J'arletcjn could come to his aid. 

Taking Colonel Hill's horse, who was a good night 
traveler, with a person for pilot who was acquainted with 
the country, Lacey started on his mission at about eight 
o'clock in the evening ; and on crossing the spur of a moun- 
tain, they unfortunately strayed from the trail, and Lacev 
began to be suspicious that his guide was playing him false, 
and was endea /oring to betray him into the hands of the 
enemy. So strong was this conviction, that he twice cocked 
his gun to kill the suspected traitor ; but the pilot's earnest 
pleas of innocence prevailed. 

At length they regained the path, and, after a devious 
journey of some eighteen or twenty miles, reached the camp 
of the mountain men, at Green river, before day. Lacey was 
at once taken in charge, blind-folded, and conducted to the 
Colonels' quarters, where he introduced himself as Colonel 
Lacev. They at first repulsed his advances, taking him to 
be a Tory spy. He had the address, however, to convince 
them that he was no impostor. He informed them of Fer- 
guson's position, his strength, and urged them, b}' all 
means, to push forward immediately, and that, by combin- 
ing: the Whi"' forces, thev could undoubtedlv overwhelm 
the Tory arm v, while delay might prove fatal to their success, 
as Ferguson had appealed to Lord Cornwallis for re-inforce- 
ments.* These views met \\ith a hearty response from the 
sturdy mountaineers. 

* Hills MS. narrative, and Dr. M. A. Moore's pamphlet Life of General Ed:vard 
Lacey. pp. 16-17. P""- Moore states that Lacey's jonrncy from the camp of tlie South 
Carolinians to that of the mountaineers was sixty miles; but from Colonel Hills repre- 
sentation of the time consumed by Lacey and his pilot, it is an evident mistake. The dis- 
tance from Flint Hill, across a somewhat rough and broken country, to the old ford on 
Green river, is as stated in the text. 

It sluiuld be added, in this connection, that M.ijor Chronicle, who probably personally 
knew Colonel Lacey, must, on this visit of the latter, have been absent on a scout or with 
a foraging party. 




Colonel Lacey learned from the Whig leaders that Wil- 
liams and I3randt)n had represented to them that Ferguson 
had gone to Ninety Six ; and that by agreement, the 
mountain men were to form a junction with the South Caro- 
linians at the Old Iron Works, on Lawson's Fork of Pacolet. 
This tallied precisely with the opinion Colonel Hill had 
formed, judging from Williams' confession of deception, in 
order to lead the mountaineers to the region of Ninety Six, 
where his own interests were centered. When Campbell 
and his r.ssociates learned of the ruse Williams had attempt- 
ed to palm ort' upon them, they felt not a little indignant, 
as they had come so far, and suffered so many privations, 
for the sole purpose, if possible, of crushing Ferguson. 
The Cowpens was agreed on as the proper place for the 
junction of the forces the ensuing evening. 

Williams seemed intent on carrying his point of getting 
control of Sumter's men, and marching them towards 
Ninety Six. On the morning of Friday, the sixth of Octo- 
ber, he went the rounds of the camp of the South Caroli- 
nians, ordering the officers and men to prepare to march 
for the Old Iron Works ; but Colonel Mill followed quickly 
upon his heels, exposing his designs, and directing the men 
to await Colonel Lace3''s return, that they might know to 
a certainty to what point to march, in order to form 
the expected union with their friends from the West. 
Colonel Hill animadverted upon the folly of making a 
foray into the region of Ninety Si simply for the sake of 
Tory booty, wlicn Ferguson, with his strong force, would 
be left in their rear, thoroughly acquainted with all the 
mountain gaps, and fords of the streams, to entrap and cut 
them ofT. Colonel Hill then ordered all wlio loved tlieir 
country, and were read}- to stand firmly by it in its hour of 
distress, t(. form a line on the right ; and those who pre- 
ferred to plunder, rather than courageously to meet the 
enemy, to form a line on the left. Colonel Hill adds, that 
he was happy that the greater portion took their places on 



the nj]fht, leaving but the tew tbllovvers of Williams to oc- 
cupy the otlier position. 

Upon the return of Colonel Lacey, about ten o'clock, 
the troops renewed their march, with the expectation of 
uniting with the mountaineers at the Cowpens that evening. 
Colonel Williams, with his followers, hung upon the rear, 
as if he thought it unsafe to march by himself at a distance ; 
and when the pinch came, h" abandoned the idea of going 
with his party alone to the region of Ninety Six. By this 
time, such was the spirit of animosity cherished by the 
Sumter men against Williams and his followers, that they 
shouted back affronting words — even throwing stones at 
them, the whole day.* About sunset, after a march of 
some twenty miles, the South Carolinians arrived at the 
place of their destination. 

The over-mountain men now demand our attention. 
The}' reached the lord of Green river on the evening of 
the tifth of October. Strong giuirds were placed around 
the camp, relieved ever}- two hours — " mighty little sleep 
that night," said Continental Jack sixty-four years thereafter. 
The whole night was spent in making a selection of the 
fittest men, horses, and equipments for a forced march, and 
successful attack on the enemy. The number chosen was 
about seven hundred;! thus leaving of the lootmen and 
those having weak horses, judging from the aggregate 
given in the official report of the campaign, about six 

♦These details of the movements nnd differences nf Sumter's corps aiul Williams 
and his party, arc taken from the interestinK MS. narrative of Colonel William Mill. See- 
in;:; no reas(m to discredit the statements of tliis sturdy patriot, they have been used freely, 
the better to illustrate the difficulties of the times, and especially those attending the Kings 
Mountain campaign. 

t Narrative of Ensign Robert Campbell, who served on the expedition; corroborated 
by Elijah Callaway's MS. narrative, in 184 ; Ocneral Wm. I.enoir says " five or six hun- 
dred " Campbell's and Callaway's statements in this case seem the most probable. Gen- 
eral Lenoir's recollections as to the number of footmen is very erroneous, placing them at 
about fifteen hundred. 

Spelts stated, that some fifty odd footmen followed in the rear, he among the number; 
and i>ld 'Continental Jack" insisted that thou.ijh at first they were not able to keep up 
with the horsemen, yet they overtook them, before reaching King's Mountain, and share<l 
in the fight. James Sevier testified to the fact, that a number of footmen actually followed 
and took part in the action. 







luiiulrL'd and niiu'fy, and soim'what less, accordinLj to the 
statiMiuMit of the unknown incmbor ol" Camphill's regiment. 
These were phiced under the command of Major Joseph 
Herndon, an excellent ofiicer of Cleveland's regiment, while 
Captain William Neal was left in special charge of Camp- 
helTs men. Colonel Campbell, realizing that the footmen 
might yet be neeiled in his operations, and knowing that 
Neal was an ofiicer of much energy of character, had 
selected him for this service; and gave directions to him, 


also, to d< 


in th 

and to Major lien 

power to expedite the march of the troops confided to their 

charge, by urging them forward as rapidly as possible. 

Colonel Lacey's opportune visit to the camp of the 
mountaineers was fortunate. Some, at least, of the Whig 
leaders, as tradition has it, began to doubt the policy of con- 
tinuing the uncertain pursuit, lest by being led too far away, 
their prolonged absence from their over-mountain homes 
might invite a raid from the hostile Cherokees upon their 
feel^ly protected families. Lacey's information and sjiirited 
appeals reassured the timid, and imparted new courage to 
the hopeful.* Instead of directing their course, as they 
otherwise would have done, to the Old Iron Works, on 
Lawson's Fork of Pacolet, some fifteen miles out of their 
way, they marched direct for the Cowpens, starting about 
daybreak on the morning of the sixth of October. The}' 
took a southerly direction to Sandy Plains, following a 
ridge road well adapted for travel ;t thence bearing .south- 
easterh' to the Cowpens. a distance of some twenty-one 
miles altogether, reaching the place of rendezvous soon 
after sunset, a short time after the arrival of tlie South 
Carolinians and their associates, under Colonels Hill, Lacey, 
Williams, and Graham. t On the way, they passed near 
where several large bodies of Tories were assembled : one, 

*MS. letter of the late Dr. Alex. Q. Bradley. Marion. Ala., neceniher ?9, 1S71. 

+ MS. letter of Dr. T. 11. Twitty. of Twitty's FortI of Hroad river. 

X Hill's MS. narrative. In the narrative of Major Thomas Yonnp. one of Williams' 
party, in the Orwn magazine, the idea is conveyed that the mountaineers arrived first 
and were engaged in killing hecvcs. 



numberinfj six Iwindrt'd, at Major Gihbs', abcnit four miles 
to the ri;^ht ot' tlu' Cuwpeiis. wlio \vt.Tc iiiteiidin;^ to join 
Ferguson the next (.lay ; but the mountain men were after 
Ferj^uson. and would not be diverted from their jnirpose, 
and losi' jireiious time, to strike at these lesser parties.* 
The riflemen from the mountains had tnrned out /o catch 
/'"cri^/tso/i, and this was tlieir rallyinu^ cry from the day they 
had U'ft the S\camore Shoals, on the Watauga. f 

While the main object was kept steadily in view — not to 
be tempted away from the direct pursuit of Ferguson, yet 
it was deemed of sutFicient importance to endeavor to make 
a night attack on this party at Major Gibbs'. The onh* ac- 
count we have of this enterprise is preserved in Ensign 
Campbell's diar\' : "On passing near the Cowpens, we 
heard of a large body of Tories about eight miles dis- 
tant, and, although the main enterprise was not to be 
delayed a single moment, a party of eighty volunteers, 
imder Ensign Robert Campbell, was dispatched in pursuit 
of them during the night. They had, however, removed 
before the mountaineers came to the place, and who. after 
riding all night, came up with the main body the next 
day." Ensign Campbell adds, that "a similar expedition 
was conducted by Captain Colvill, with no better success, 
but without causing delay," — and this, too, must have been 
the same night, though he places it as occurring on the 
following one.* 

For an hour or two on the evening of the sixth, there was 
a stirring bivouac at the Cowpens. A wealthy English Tory, 
named Saunders, resided there, who reared large num- 
bers of cattle, and having many pens in which to herd his 
stock — hence the derivation of Cow-pens. Saunders, was, 


.IS cited in Haywnoil's Tennessee. 70; a 

id R 

amsey s 

Tennessee, 2 




his SA-e/i/ies. 

n'lves the niimhcr of the Tory party at Major Gibbs' as "four 

or five hundred." which is perhaps quite as large as it really was. 

V Hunter's Sieti/ies, 

J MS. Diary of Knsign Robert Campbell, kindly communicated by Rev. D. C. Kelley, 
D. D., of Lecvillc. Tenn. This diary is a different document from the King's Mountain 

, by th 

e satn* writer. 





: J( 

at tlje time, in bed— pt'iliaps not vny wi'll, or f(>irfnin^ sick- 
ness ; from which he was uneeri'moniously pulled out, and 
treated pretty roughly. When commanded lo tell at what 
time Ferguson had passed that place, he declared that tlie 
Hritish Colonel and his army had not passed there at all ; 
that there was plenty of torch pine in his liouse, which they 
coukl light, and search carefully, and if tiiey could find any 
track or sign of an army, they might hang him, or ilo what- 
ever else they pleased with him ; but if they made no such 
discoveries, he trusted they would treat him more leniently. 
Search was accordingly made, but no evidence of an army 
passing there ccnild be found.* Several of the old Tory's 
cattle were e[uickly shot down and slaughtered for the sup- 
ply of the hungry soldiers ; and the bright camp lires were 
everywhere seen lighting up the gloomy surroundings, and 
strips of beef were quickh' roasted upon the coals and 
embers ; while (Ifty acres of corn found there were har- 
vested in about ten minutes. f The weary men and horses 
were refreshed — save a few laggards who were too tardy in 
cooking their repast. 

Joseph Kerr, the cripple spy, was at this time a member 
of Colonel Williams' command. Either from Flint Hill, 
or shortly before reaching there, he had been sent to gain 
intelligence of Ferguson, and found him encamped — appar^ 
ently at noon-day, on the sixth of October — at Peter 
Qiiinn's, six or seven miles from King's Mountain ; and 
designed marching to that point during the afternoon of that 
day. It was a region of many Tories, and Kerr found no 
ditliculty in gaining access to Ferguson's camp ; and hav- 
ing been a cripple from his infancy, passed unsuspected of 
his true character, making anxious inquiries relative to 
taking protection, and was professedl}' gratitied on learning 

'■'MS, narrative of Vance anil McDowell, preserved liy the late Hon. Robert Henry. 

7 Silas Mcliee's statement to the author in 1842, Mr. McHce was born Noveinhei 24, 
1765, and was consequently not quite fifteen when he served on this campaign. He died 
In Pontotoc County, Mississippi. January 6th, 1845, in his eightieth year. He was a mem- 
ber of the first lesislature of Alabama, and was a man much respected by all who knew him. 

WW m ' 



good lU'Ws eonccrniiii,' the King's ciuiso and prospi'Cts. 
AfliT nvmaging, l)y liis natural shrewdness and good sense, 
to make all the observations he coukl, he tiuietly retired, 
making his way, probably in a somewhat circuitous course, 
to rejoin his countrymen. As they were on the wing, he 
did not overtake them till the evening of that dav, at the 
Cowpens, when he was able to report to the Whig chiefs 
Ferguson's movements and position, and that his numbers 
did not exceed fifteen hundred men.* This information 
was much more recent than had come througli the old 
man who made his report at Flint Hill, on the morning 
of the lifth ; and it tended to corroborate the correctness of 
the ireneral tenor of the intelli<;ence. And it served to 
strengthen the faith of the mountain men, that with proper 
energy on their part, and the blessing of Providence, they 
would yet overtake and cliastise the wily British leader and 
his Tory allies, after whom they were so anxiously seeking. 
It was deemed important to gain the latest intelligence 
of Ferguson's present position, for he might not now be 
where he was when seim by Kerr. Among others, 
Enoch Gilmer, of the South Fork of Catawba, was pro- 
posed by Major Chronicle, of Graham's men. It was 
objected that Gilmer was not acquainted with the country 
throuah which Ferguson was believed to have marched. 
Chronicle replied, that Gilmer could acquire informaticm 
beltt-r than those familiar wiUi the region, for he could 
readily assume any character that the occasion might re- 
quire ; that he could cry and laugh in the same breath, and 
all who witnessed him would llnnh- believe that he was in 
earnest in both : that he could act the part of a lunatic so 
appropriately that even those best acquainted with him, if 
not let into the secret, would not hesitate a moment to 
believe that he was actually deranged ; that he was a 

*MS. pension statement of Joseph Kerr; \\\mK<^x'% Sketches of Wtstern Korth Carolina, 
121. After the war, Kerr rcntovcd to White (.ounty. Tennessee, where lie reteived a pen- 
iion in 1S3J for his Revolutionary servites, and subsequently died at a good old age. 

^^ % 




[fj Ti 1 


' i ^ 



A'/JVG ' 6" J/C> UNTAIN 

slirowd, cunning' follow, iind a stranger to fear. He was 
selected among others, and started oft' on his mission. 

lie called at a Tory's house not many miles in advance, 
and represented to him that he had been waiting on Fergu- 
son's supposed route from Denard's Ford to Ninet}' Six, 
intending to join his forces ; but not marching in that direc- 
tion, he was now seeking his camp. The Tory, not sus- 
pecting Gilmer's true character, frankh- related all he knew 
or had learned of Ferguson's UKnements and intentions ; 
that, after he had crossed Broad river at Penard's Ford, he 
had received a dispatch from Lord Coruwallis, ordering him 
to rejoin the main army : that his Lordship was calling in his 
outposts, making n^ady to give Gates a second defeat, reduce 
North Carolina, stamping out all Rebel opposition as in 
Georgia and South Carolina, when he would enter Virginia 
with a larger army than had yet marched over American 
soil.* Gilmer returned to the Cowpens before the troops 
took up their line of march that evening. All this was about 
on a par with the ordinary British boasting of the times ; 
but did not furnish the Whig leaders with the intelligence 
they more particularly desired relative to Ferguson's present 
plans and whereabouts. 

Meanwhile a council was held, in which the newlv joiiu'd 
officers, save Colonel Williams, participated : and Colonel 
Campbell was retained in the chief command — "in courte- 
s}-," says Colonel Hill, " to him and his regiment, who liad 
marched the greatest distance." Men and horses refreshed, 
they started about nine o'clock on their night's march in 
quest of Ferguson. To what extent the North and South 
Carolinians, who joined the mountain men at the Cowpens, 
added to their numbers, is not certainly known : but 
as they were less jaded than the others, they probably 
reached about their full quota of four lumdred. as is 
generaMy understood — Williams had, a few days before, 
called them in round numbers, four hundred and llfty, 

*Vaiice and McDowell n.irr.itive, as iirescrvcil liy Rnhcrt Ilciiry. 




indudin^ his own corps; while Colonel Hill is silent 
in his niii-nilivo as to their strength. Thus the coni'niiied 
force at tlie Cowpens was ahout eleven hundreil. and 
nearly all well armed with rifles. Here a prompt selec- 
tion was made h}' the oHicers from the several parties just 
arrived from Flint Ilill — so that the whole number of 
mounted men fnially chosen to pursue and attack Ferguson, 
was ahout nine hundred and en, besides the squad of un- 
ctnmted footmen, wlio were probably not so numerous as 
Spelts supposed. They may be estimated, pro rata, accord- 
ing to the relative strength of their respective corps, about 
as follows: Chosen at Green ri\er — Campbell's men. two 
hundred ; Shelby's, one hundred and twenty ; Sevier's, one 
hundred and twenty; Cleveland's, one hundred ami ten; 
McDowell's, ninety; and Winston's, sixty; — total, ^even 
hundred. Additi<mal troops selected at the Cowpens: 
Lacey's, one hundred ; Williams', sixty ; and Graham and 
Ilambright's, lifty ; — total, two Inmdred and ten : and mak- 
insi altowther nine hundred and ten mounted men.* Hie 
squad of uncounted footmen should be added to thi' lunuber. 
The little party of Georgians seem to have been united 
with Williams' men, and served to swell that small corps ; 
Chronicle's South Fork boys helped to make up the Lincoln 
force under Graham ; while the feu footmiMi douhlless 
generally joined their respective corps, though some, like 
Spelts, united with the column mo:*^ convenient to them 
when die lime of trial arrived. 

*The official report signed by Campbell, Shelby and Cleveland, says nine hundred was 
the number selected ; Shelby's account in Haywood and Katnscy, and in the American 
Kmieto says nine hundred and ten; Colonel Hill's MS, narrative gives nine hundred 
and thirty-three as the ruiniber, Ramsey's Kinotution in S>ii/h Ctiiolimi, 17S5 ; Gordon's 
Aiiieriiiiit ll'iir, 1788; and Moultrie's Meiiioirs, 1802, .ill yive the number as nine hundred 
and ten. So docs General Graham in his King s .Mountain narrati-'e. General Davidson, 
in his letter til General Siimnor, October 10. 1780. says sixteen hundred wa^ tln^ luiniber 
selected — a palpable error, or evaggeralion — which was copieil by Marshall into ilie first 
edition of his I.i/c 0/ li'ashiitgL'ii 

" It is not easy." says Rev. Mr. I.athan. " to determine with any degree of certainty, 
the cvact numlierof Americans enRaged in the baiile of Kmg's Mountain." It is as acLuraiely 
known as the numbers are in military operations generally, by following the olVh i.d and 
other reliable reports, and discarding palpable errors nnd exaggerations — such for in-iance, 
as that which this writer gives that the South Carolinians under Hill and Lacey " .iin.'unted 
(0 near two thousand." 



It proved a very dark night, and to add to the un- 
pleasantness and ditllcuhy of the march, a drizzly rain soon 
set in, which, Shelby says, was, at least part of the time, 
excessively hard. While the road was pretty good, as 
Silas McBee represents, who was raised on Thicketty creek 
in that region, 3'et, from the darkness brooding over them, 
the pilots of Campbell's men lost their way, and that corps 
became much confused, and dispersed through the woods, 
so when morning appeared the rear portion were not more 
than five miles from the Cowpens, as Hill's manuscript 
informs us. Discovering the absence of the Virginians, 
and divining the cause, men were sent from the front at the 
dawn of day, in all directions, till the wanderers were found, 
who had taken a wrong trail, and were now put on the 
right road. 

Once reunited, with the light of day to guide them, the}^ 
pushed forward uncommonly hard. They had designed 
crossing Broad river at Tate's, since Deer's Ferry, as the 
most direct route to Kin<j's ^Mountain : and. as thev neared 
tluit locality, they concluded to bear down the river, some 
two and a half miles, to the Cherokee Ford, lest the enemy, 
peradventure, or some portion of them, might be in posses- 
sion of the eastern bank of the stream at Tate's crossing, 
and oppose their passage.* It was near davlight. when on 
the river hills, in the neigliborhood of the Cherokee Ford, 
Gilmer was sent forward to reconnoitre at the Ford, and 
discover, if possible, whether the enemy might not have 
waylaid the crossing at that point, with a design of attack- 
ing their pursuers in the river. While awaiting Gilmer's 
return, orders were gi.en to the men to keep their guns drv, 
for it was yet raining. After some little time. Gilmer's well- 
known voice was heard in the hollow near by. singing Bar- 
ney Linn, a favorite jolly song of the times, which was sufTi- 

'•' Shelby \n Amcricnn Review: Hill's MS. narrative; Vance and McDowell's state- 
ment; General Joseph Graham's sketch in Sniilhrrn Literary Messenai'r. September. 1845; 
(jenern! Lenoir's narrative in Wheeler's North Carolina, ii, 106 ; MS. notes of conversa- 
tions with Silas McHee. 




cient notice that the way was clear. As they reached the 
river, it was about sunrise. Orders were given, that those 
having the hirgest horses sliould stem the current on the 
upper side of the stream. Not much attention was paid to 
the order. Thougli the river was deep, it was remarked 
that not a soHtary soldier met with a ducking.* They had 
now marched some eighteen miles since leaving the Cow- 
pens, and were yet some fifteen miles iVom Kings 

After passing the river, Gilmer was again sent forw ard 
to make discoveries, and dashed oft' at full gallop. The 
officers rode at a slow gait in front of their men — the latier. 
as if getting somewhat wearied of the pursuit, would some- 
times indulge in an oath, adding that if they were to have a 
battle, they could wish to engage in it, and have it soon over. 
Some three miles above the Cherokee Ford, thev came to 
Ferguson's former encampment, where the}' halted a short 
time, taking such a snack as their wallets and saddle- 
bairs aftbrded — scantv at best, and manv entirelv destitute. 
Coming to a cornfield by the roadside, the mountain men 
would soon pull it, cutting some of tl raw corn from the 
cob for their own sustenance, and hauling a supply fijr their 

The rain continued to fall so heavily during the forenoon, 
that Colonels Campbell, Sevier and Cleveland concluded 
from the weary and jaded condition of both men and beasts, 
that it was best to halt and retresh. Many of the horses 
had given out. Riding up to Shelby, and apprising him of 
their views, he roughh^ replied with an oath: "I will not 
stop until niglit, if I follow Ferguson into Cornwallis" 
lines." Without replying, the other Colonels returned to 
their respective commands, and continued the march. 
The men could only keep their guns dry by wrapping 
their bags, blankets, and hunting shirts around the locks, 

''MS notes nf conversations w':h Silas McHce ; Lenoir's narrative; and Penjamin 
Sharp's statement in the American Pioneer. 

' \ 1 

1 H 

. BR 




II! " 



thus leaving their own persons unpleasantly exposed to the 
almost incessant storm}- weather which they had encountered 
since leaving the Cowpens. Proceeding but a mile after the 
proposed halt, the}' came to Solomon Reason's, who was a 
half- Whig, half-Loyalist, as occasion required, where they 
learned that Ferguson was onl}- eight miles in advance ; and 
there, too, they had the good fortune to capture a couple of 
Tories, who, at the peril of their lives, were made to pilot the 
army to King's Mountain — one, as related by McBee, ac- 
companying Shelb}-, the other Cleveland. The}' gave some 
account of the situation of the enemy, which revived the 
hopes of all, that they would soon gain the object they were 
so anxiously seeking. Another gratifying circumstance 
was, that the rain ceased about noon, and cleared off with 
a tine cool breeze. When the mountaineers had advanced 
five miles further, some of Sevier's men called at the house 
of a Loyalist, seeking information, when the men would only 
say that Ferguson was not far away. As they departed, 
a girl followed the riflemen out of the building, and in- 
quired : "How many are there of you?" ''Enough," was 
the reply, " to whip Ferguson, if we can find him." "lie 
is on that mountain," she said, pointing to the eminence 
three miles distant.* 

After traveling several miles, the officers in front de- 
scried the horse of Gilmer, the scout, fastened at a gate 
about three-fourths of a mih ahead. They gave whip to 
their steeds, and rode at fi;il speed to the place ; and on 
going into the house, found Gilmer sitting at the table eat- 
ing. "You d — d rascal," exclaimed Colonel Campbell, 
"we have got you!" "A true King's man, by G — ," re- 
plied Gilmer. In order to test the scout's ability to sustain his 
assumed character, Campbell had provided himself with a 
rope, with a running noose on it after the style of a lasso, 

*MS, notes of conversations with Colonel George Wilson, of Nashville, Tennessee, in 
1S44. derived from AIex.indcr Greer, one of Sevier's men. Greer was a noble specimen 
of the pioneer soldier ; liecame a Colonel of militia in after years, and died on Dutk river, 
Bedford County, Tenncsgcc, in February, i8to. 



and threw it over Gilmer's neck, swearing that they would 
hang him on the bow of the gate. Chronicle begged that 
he should not be hung there, for his ghost would haunt the 
women, who were present and in tears. Campbell acqui- 
esced, saying they would reserve him for the lirst conveni- 
ent over-hanirinir Hmb that thev should come across on the 
road. Once fairly beyond sight of the house, a few hundred 
yards, the rope was detached from Gilmer's neck, and he 
permitted to remount his horse. He then stated the intelli- 
gence he had gained : That on reaching the house, and 
finding it occupied by a Tor}- family, he declared that he was 
a true King's man ; and wished to ascertain Ferguson's 
camp, as he desired to join him. Finding the two women at 
the house warmly attached to the King's cause, he could not 
repress his joy, so gave each a hearty sympathizing smack ; 
the youngest of whom now freely related, that she had been 
in Ferguson's camp that very morning, which was only 
about three miles away, and had carried the British com- 
mander some chickens ; that he was posted on a ridge 
between two branches where some deer hunters had a camp 
the previous autumn. Major Chror.icle and Captain Mat- 
tocks stated that the camp referred to was theirs, and that 
they well knew the ground on which Ferguson had taken 
post — a spur of King's Mountain. 

As they now had recent knowledge of Ferguson's posi- 
tion, the officers led by Campbell rode n j,liort distance by 
themselves, agreeing upon a plan of attack, and freely re- 
ported it to the men for their encouragement ; assuring them 
that by surrounding Ferguson's army, and shooting at them 
on their part up-hill, there would consequently be no danger 
of our men destroying each other, and every prospect of 
success would be theirs. It was a question, whether the 
moimtaineers were numerous enough to surround the entire 
ridiie on all sides — for thev did not then know its exact 
length. But the scheme was heartily approved by all. The 
officers without stopping, began to agree upon the position 
each corps was to occupy in the attack. 

i I 

I ( 



1 V 





Colonel William Graham, who was at the head of the 
I^incoln men, and had rendered good service the past sum- 
mer in connection with Shelby in the Spartanburg region, 
and had so successfully defended his fort on Bullalo creek, 
received at this point certain intelligence that his wife was 
in a precarious condition, some sixteen miles away, near 
Armstrong's Fonl on the South Fork, and his presence was 
imperatively demanded at the earliest possible moment. 
When he stated the case to Colonel Campbell, the latter 
replied tluit if he could venture to remain, share in the im- 
pending battle, and carry the tidings (jf victory to his com- 
panion, it would prove the best possible intelligence to her. 
Turning to Chronicle, also from the South Fork, Campbell 
inquired, as if the Major knew something of the urgency 
of the case — " Ouiiht Colonel Graham to have leave of 
absence?" "I think so. Colonel," responded Chronicle; 
'•as it is a w^oman atlair, let him go." Leave of absence 
was accordingly granted ; and David Dickey, much against 
his washes, was assigned as an escort. Campbell, judging 
that Major Chronicle was a younger and more active oflicer 
than Lieutenant-Colonel Hambright, observed to the Major 
— "Now you must take Graham's place;" and turning to 
Hambright, Campbell asked if lie liad any objections. lie 
generously said, it was his wish that Chronicle should do 
so, as he best knew the ground. As this was sadsfactorily 
arranged. Chronicle exclaimed, "Come on, m^' South ji^ork 
boys," and took the lead.* 

When within two or three miles of King's Mountain, 
Sevier's advance managed to capture two or three more 
Tories, who were out spying, from whom corroborati\-e 
information was derived of the position of Ferguson's camp, 
and of the locality of his picket guard. f Soon after, a 

*This statement conceriilnR rFllmer's adventures the plan of the battle, and Colonel 
liraham. is taken from the MS Vance-McDowell narrative, and no doubt this portion was 
furnished by Robert Henry, one of Chronicle's party. 

t Ilenjamin Sharp's statement ; MS. notes of conversations with Colonel George Wilson, 
derived from Alexander Greer; Lathan's Sketch, 14. 



youth, named Jolin Ponder,* some fourteen years of age, 
was met riding in great haste, while another account says 
he was captured in an old field — probably taking a circuit- 
ous course for Charlotte. Colonel IIambriy;ht knowinjj; that 
this lad had a brother and other relatives in Ferguson's 
camp, caused his prompt arrest. On searching him, a fresh 
dispatcli from Fergus(jn to Cornwallis was found, manifest- 
ing great anxiety as to his situation, and earnestly renew- 
ing his request for immediate assistance. The substance 
of the dispatch was made known to the men, without, how- 
ever, mentioning Ferguson's strength, which he seems to 
have given, lest his numbers should tend to discourage them. 
Interro<;atin<f youni; l\)nder as to tlie kind of dress Ferj>"u- 
son wore, he replied that while that ofhcer was the best 
uniformed man on the mountain, they could not see his 
military suit, as he wore a checked shirt, or duster, over it. 
Colonel IIambri<rht at once called the attention of his men 
to this peculiarity of Ferguson's dress: " J[?//, ^^j-.v," said 
he, in his broken Pennsylvania German accent, '■'■zuhcti you 
sec dot man iii// a pig- shirt on over his clothes, you may know 
who him is, a)id mark him mil your rifles.'" \ 

As they approaclied within a mile of the enemy, tlie}' 
met George Watkins, a good Wliig, who had been a 
prisoner with Ferguson ; and having hi-en released on 
parole, was now on his way home. He was able to give 
the very latest information, with the assurance that the 
enenn- sdll maintained tlieir position on the mountain. 
Here a brief halt was made. Hitherto the men had 
been mostly unembodied — marching singly, or in squads, 

♦General Joseph Graham, in his King's Mountain narrative, gives the name as Fonde- 
rin, which Dr. Hunter in his Sketches xsiieMs. liut Colonel J. R. Logan, who has lived 
all his life cif some seventy years in the King's Mountain region, and whose grandfalhcr, 
William Logan, was in the battle, states that all the aged persons of that section of country 
unite in declaring that the youth s name was John Ponder. A Mr. Dover, says Colonel 
Logan, was likewise met on the march, and impart':d some information to the Whig 
leatlers of Ferguson's movements and whereabouts; and the families of the Ponders and 
Dovcrs still reside in Vork County, South Carolina, ami Cleveland County, North Caro- 
lina, while Ponder's Branch of King's creek is a well-known stream in that quarter, 

•rOeneral Graham's King's ^^ollntain narrative; MS, correspondence of Abram Hardinj 
Hunter's IVestern Xorth Carolina, 306-7. 

1 f 


|P ^ 




as mi^ht best suit their convenience; " but little subordi- 
nation," says Colonel Hill, *' had been required or ex- 
pected." The men were now formed into two lines, two 
men deep — Colonel Campbell leading the right line, and 
Colonel Cleveland the left.* The ollicers renewedly adopted 
the plan of attack already suggested, to surround the enemy ; 
but Williams, as Colonel Hill states, dared not appear at the 
council, in consequence of his recent eflbrt to mislead the 
Wliig Colonels. The strictest orders were given that no 
talking would be allowed on the march, which was faithfully 
obeyed, every mail seeming as dumb as the poor brute that he 
rode.f It was somewhere near this point, that Major Winston 
was detached, with a portion of the Wilkes and Surry troops, 
to make a detour, apparently south of the Qiiarry I'oad, to 
gain the right of Ferguson. J 

After passing Whistnant's Mill creek, the mountaineers 
followed the ridge road past what is now the Antioch Bap- 
tist church, thence northerly till they intersected the road 
leading from North Carolina to Yorkville, along which 
latter they marched to the right, a nearly south-easterly 
course, crossing Ponder's Branch, and another upper prong 
of King's creek, by wa}^ of Colonel Ilambright's subsequent 
improvements, and through a gap in the moimtain to the 
battle hill. Or, as General Graham describes the line of 
March after passing King's creek, "they moved up a branch 
and ravine, between t\vo rocky knobs ; be^-ond which the 
top of the mountain and the enemy's camp upon it, were in 
full view, about a hundred poles in front." 

This route by way of Antioch church and Ponder's 
Branch was quite circuitous, north of the old Qiiarry road. 
The traditions of the King's Mountain region are more or 
less contradictory ; but the statements of the best informed 
indicate this as the course pursued ; § and probably this 

* James Crow's statement. 

T Statement of Hon. John F. Darby of St. Louis, derived from his grandfather, one of 
Campliell's men. 

J General Lenoir's narrative. 

§ MS. statement of Colonel J. R, Logan, 





indirect way was taken in order to cut off the enemy's retreat, 
.should the}' atU-iript a flii^ht towards Charhjtte when the 
Whigs shoukl make their forniidahk' appearance. In tlie 
rear of trees and huslies, on the east side of King's creek, 
a little aboN'e where the Q^iarry road passes that stream, the 
mountaineers arrived at about three o'clock in the afternoon, 
when the word " halt " was given. Then they were ordered 
to " dismount and tie horses ; " next to " take off and tie up 
great-coats, blankets, etc., to your saddles," as it had been 
rainy the preceding night, and till within the past three 
hours ; luul a fi'W men were designated to take charge of 
the horses. Then came the fmal general order: "Fresh 
prinw your guns, and evor\' man go into battle iirmly re- 
solving to fighl till he dies'."' * No such word as fail entered 
into tlie composition or calculations of Campbell and his 
men. Never was the war-cry of the ancient Romans more 
ceaseless and determined, that Carthage must he destroyed, 
than was that of the mountaineers — to catch and destroy 
Ferguson ! 

■•'Hon. J. F. Darby's narrative; General Graham's statement; Shelby's memoir in 
American Review ; Latham's Sketch of Kitts s Mountain. 





King's Mountain Battle, October 7ih, 1780. 

Fi-rgtisou iiiid /lis Mill Urso/iu- to /•/{,'///. — T/ir Bayonet t/irir Mai)i Re- 
liance. — liritis/i Stre/ix//i. — Character of the Provincial Rani^ers. — 
Different Classes of Loyalists />escril>e(f. — Traits of the Mountain- 
eers. — The Holston Men, and Frontier AiiTentitres. — .Issii^'/tinent 
of the IVhii,'- Corps to the Attack.— Campbeirs Appeal to his Men. 
— Winston's niis-.ldventiires. — Cleveland not the I'irst to Conintence 
the Action. — Siirpn'sini^ the J-lneiny's Piclcet. — Shelby s Colinnn An- 
noyed by the Enemy. — Campbell's Men Kt/sh into the Fii:;ht — At- 
tack on the British Main Guard. — 'The \'iry;inians Advance up the 
Mountain. — March of Cleveland' s Men — Patriotic Speech of their 
Commander — Drive in a Picket. — Movements of Lacey's Men. — 
Campbell's Corps Driven before the Bayonet — Rally, and Renau 
the Contest. — Shelby, too. Retired before the C/'<?;;i,'7;/;'- Columns. — 
The Rii^ht and Left JVin^s take part in the Action. — Culbertson's 
Heroism — Captain Moses Shelby Wounded. — Ensign Campbell Dis- 
lodi:;ini^ Tories from their Rocky Ramparts. — Terrific Character of 
the ConJIiet. — .Imusinc; Incident of one of Lacey's Men. — Heroic 
Efforts of Campbell and his Corps. — Ensign Campbell's Good Con- 
duct. — Captain Ju/inondson's Exploit and Death. — Lieutenant 
Recce Bo7i'en's Disdain of Danger, and his Lamented Fall. — Camp- 
bells Active Efforts and Heroic Appeals. — Death of Major Chron- 
icle. — The South Fork Boys Charged, and Several Wounded. — 
Robert Henry Transfixed, and yet Sunnved all his Associates. — 
William Twitty and Abram Forney. — Clei'cland and his Men. — 
Lieutenant Samuel Johnson and other Wounded Officers. — Intre- 
pidity of Charles Gordon and Dai'id Wither.spoon. — Singular 
Adventure of Charles Boiuen and Colonel Cleveland. 

Ferguson had caret'ully posted his Provincial corps and 
drilled Loyalists alon<r the crest of the mountain, exlendin<f 
from nearly one end to the other. They had no thought of 
retreatin<r from their pursuers. We have, indeed, no evi- 
dence that thev really knew that the Back Water men were 









so closi'ly upon them. It is true that one account states, 
that the liritisli descried in the far distance "u thick cloud 
of cavahy,"* apparently referring' to thick clouds of dust 
prochiced hy ;i hu"^e l)ody of horsemen ; but this could 
not ha\e been so, for the country was then covered with 
timber, whicli would have prevented any such discovery ; 
and it had, moreover, rained many successive hours during 
the preceding night and the fore part of Uiat day, so that 
there was no dust from which any clouds could arise. At 
any rate, the enemy maintained their position, either 'ope- 
fully or sullenly determined to fight to the last. 

Ferguson's Provincials — or Rangers, as Tarleton terms 
them — were not a jK-rmanent corps, but made up for special 
service, from other Provincial bodies — die King's American 
Regim(Mit, raised in and around New York, the Qiieen's 
Rangers, and the New Jersey Volunteers. These Colonial 
troops were clad, in the early part of the war, in green ; 
afterwards, as a rule, they wore scarlet coats. f The 
Provincials were well trained, and Ferguson relied largely 
upon them in consequence of their practised skill in 
the use of the bayonet; and, in case of necessity, for such 
of his Tory troops as were without that implement, he had 
provided each wiUi a long knife, made by the blacksmiths 
of the country, the butt end of the handle of which was 
fitted the proper size to insert snugly in the muzzle of the 
rifle, with a shoulder or button two inches or more from 
the end, so that it could be used as an eflective substitute 
for a bayonet. 

What was the exact strcngdi of I'i'erguson's force cannot 
with certainly be determined. Tarleton says, beside his 
corps of Rangers — which numbered about one hundred — 
he had not far from one thousand Loyal MiliUa,t while 
some British accounts put the number as low as eight hun- 


* History i^f the War in America. TVublin. 1785, iii. 149. 
t MS. Corrcspnnclencc of Gen. J. W. DePeyster. 
X Southern Cuiii/nii^iis, 156. 

^^^^ ^f^^^ ' M ^ iA y » " 






clred. The American oflicial report, professing to gain the 
information from the enemy's provision returns of that day, 
gives the number as eleven hundred and twenty-live ; and 
this tallies pretty closely with Tarleton's statement. There 
is. however, some reason to suppose that about two hundred 
Tories left camp that day, perhaps on a scout, but more 
likely on a foraging expedition. 

It is litting, in this connection, to speak of the character 
of these Loyalists, here arrayed on King's Mountain, and 
about to engage in a memorable conflict against tlieir com- 
mon countrv — for they were all, or nearly all, save Fergu- 
son himself, natives of tlie Colonies. Now that Dunlap was 
separated from them, Ferguson's corps of Rangers seem to 
have been quite as unobjectionable a class of men as the 
temptations and unrestrained recklessness of war ordinarily 
permit the military to be ; and, though they had fled betbre 
Captain Hampton in their retreat from Earle's Ford of North 
PacoleU and had recoiled before the galling fire of Shelby 
and Clarke near Cedar Spring, the summer preceding, yet 
they were experienced soldiers, and were by many account- 
ed as brave and reliable as any British troops in America. 

iUit who were the Tories proper? They were made up 
of dillerent classes of citizens wlio .sympathized witli, or 
took up arms for the King, and fouglit against their fellow- 
citizens who were bravely contending for the liberties o( 
their country. Those of them who remained after the war, 
in their old localities, were sadlv abu.sed and villilied as lonir 
as they lived. They hardly dared to ofler an apologv for 
their conduct. They were numerous in many of the States, 
and have left many descendants, not a few of whom are 
among the most worthy and respected in the communities 
where they reside ; yet none of them boast of their relation- 
ship to the Lo\'alists. It lias been the fashion to stigmatize 
the Tories without stint and without discrimination, heap- 
ing all manner of reproaches upon them and their class 
generally. The issue of tlie war, and the general \erdict 




of the Whigs, who had suHercd not a Httle in the seven 
years' conlhct, seemed to jiistily these severe judgments. 
No one now supposes that he would have been a l'or\ , had 
it been tiie will ol I'rovidence that he should have been an 
actor in the scenes of the Revolution a century ago. As 
he reads the history oi the stirring events connected with 
the war, he concludes, that had he been there, he would, 
as a matter of course, have been on the right side, periling 
life and fortune at every hazard in the cause offreidom. 

It is easy enough for us to imagine, wh.en we read of 
deeds of humanity, generosity, and noble daring, that we, 
too, would have acted in a similar manner had we been in 
the same situation as those persons were who perlbrmed 
them. Few know, till they are tried, what they would do 
under certain circumstances. One's associations, surround- 
. ings, and temptations oftentimes exert an overpowering in- 
fluence. Let us judge even the Tories with as much char- 
ity and leniency as we can. Some of them were cajoled 
into the British service, and not a few^ forced into it under 
various pretenses and intimidations. 

Rev. James II. Save, who has spent his life of over 
seventy years in Georg a and South Carolina, and had 
much intercourse with the survivors of the Revolution in his 
day, made the various classes of Tories a special subject of 
study and inquiry, including the influences that prompted 
their unhappy choice, and grouped them into six principal 
divisions : 

I. There were some men in the country conscientiously 
opposed to war, and every sort of revolution w hich led to 
it, or invoked its aid. They Ix-lieved that they ouglit to 
be in subjection to the powers that be ; and hence they main- 
tained their allegiance to the British crown. The (^lakers 
were of this class. They were then far more numerous in 
the Carolinas than now. They wen*, religiously, non-com- 
batants : and the weight of Uieir influence naturally fell on 
the wrong side. 




1 i:| 



^' !i 



■: r'i 


I- 4 



2. There were many persons who reall}' knew nothing 
of the questions at issue in the contest. The worhl has 
always been cursed with too hu^fre a stock of men of this 
class, whose clays are passed in profound ignorance of every- 
thing which requires an exertion of intellect, yd often the 
most self-conceited beings that wear the human form — per- 
fect moles, delighting in nothing so much as dirt and dark- 
ness. This class followed their cunning and intri'niinij 
leaders in the Revolution, and were easily and naturally 
led into the camp of the Lo\'alists. 

3. Another class thought the Government of George 
the Third too good to exchange for an uncertainty. They 
praciically said : " Let well enough alone ; a little tax on 
tea won't hurt us ; and as for principles and doctrines, leave 
them to the lawyers and parsons." 

4. Another class thought that, however desirable the 
right of self-government might be, it was then quite out of 
the question, unless his most gracious Majesty might be 
pleased to grant it : and they believed that the fleets and 
armies of Great Britain were pCifectly invincible, while de- 
feat and utter ruin to all en<ra«ied in it must follow rebellion 
against the King. 

5. There was another class who claimed no little cred- 
it for shrewdness and management ; who prided themselves 
on being genteel and philosophical. If they ever had scru- 
ples of conscience, they amounted to very little ; if an}- re- 
ligious principles, they imposed no self-denial, and forbade 
no sensual gratification. If they had a spa'-k of patriotism 
or love for their King, it could onlv be kindled by fuel from 
the Government coffers. The needle is no truer to the 
pole than were these people to the prospect of gain. War 
is usually a great distributor of money ; they wanted a lib- 
eral share, and wanted to acquire it easily. On the fall of 
Charleston, when Sir Henry Clinton issued his proclama- 
tioii, these money-worshipers discovered in it a bow of 
promise. Pardon was offered to all rebels with one excep- 





tion ; and tliat exception embraced many persons of large 
estates, and a still greater number possessing comfortable 
means. Here the shadow of a golden harvest ilitted before 
their longing eyes. The excepted Wliigs had property 
enough to make many rich, if inlbrmed against by the zeal- 
ous advocates of the crown ; or, if plundered and appropri- 
ated without taking the trouble of making any report of the 
matter. Feelings of humanity and tenderness were not 
cultivated or regarded — it was enough tluit the proscribed 
Whigs had well-cultivated farms, negroes, horses, cattle, 
or other desirable property, and that they had, in their esti- 
mation, justly forfeited all by rebellii' ; against the King and 
his Government. This class became liie s^xophants to Roval 
authority, and the army of plundereis during the war; . nd 
once hardened in pillaging, they soon became reckless of 
life and virtue. 

6. There was yet another class v.hich had a large fol- 
lowing among the Tories — a class, too, which either on ac- 
count of its numbers, industry, or general influence, ga"\e 
character to a large portion of the whole fraternit} . When 
a Revolutionary soldier was asked, " What sort of men were 
the Tories?'' The almost invariable reply was, '■•A pack 
of rogues." An eminent c-xample of this class was found 
in the person of Plundering Sam Brown, already described, 
a notorious robber years before the war commenced ; yet, 
like otlier men who had wealth or the means of acquiring 
it, he had numerous friends and followers. He had the 
shrewdness to perceive that the field was well suited to his 
tastes and habits ; and accordingly rallied his retainers, 
joined Ferguson, and for a time proved an efhcient ally. 
Th(nigh he had been an outlaw for many years, yet few 
brought to the Royal standard a larger share of talent for 
cunning and inhumanity for the position assigned him. He 
now enjoyed the liberty of plundering under the sanction 
of law and authority, and of arresting, for the sake of re- 
ward, those who had long been known as the stanch de- 





fenders of honesty and justice. The notorious Captain 
David Fanning, IJloody Bill Bates, and Bloody Bill Cun- 
niuiiliam were men of the same infamous character — un- 
feeling, avaricious, revengeful, and bloody. 

Here, then, were the conscientious class of Loyalists ; 
an ignorant class ; an inditlerent class ; a cowardly class ; 
a covetous, mouL-y-making class ; and a disappointed, ro- 
guish, revengeful class. It must not be supposed that these 
characteristics were never combined. Several of them had 
a natural aflinity for each other, and were almost invariably 
found united in the same person. The non-combatants, the 
cowards, and the indifferent were not found among those 
arrayed on King's Mountain; but Ferguson's force, aside 
from the young men who had enlisted under his standard, 
and a few wortliy but misguided people, was largely made 
up of the worst characters which war evolves from the dregs 
of mankind.* 

In the confronting ranks was a very different class of 
men. Those from the Holston, under Campbell, were a 
peculiar people — somewhat of the character of Cromwell's 
soldiery. They were, almost to a man, Presbyterians, In 
their homes, in the Holston Valley, they were settled in 
prettv compact congregations ; quite tenacious of their re- 
ligious and civil liberties, as handed down from father to 
son from their Scotch-Irish ancestcn-s. Their preacher, 
Rev. Charles Cummins, was well fitted for the times ; a 
man of piety and sterling patriotism, who constantly exerted 
himself to encourage his people to make every needed sac- 
rifice, and put forth every possible exertion in defense of the 
liberties of their country. They were a remarkable body 
of men, both physically and mentally. Inured to frontier 
life, raised mosdy in Augusta and Rockbridge Counties, 
Virginia, a frontier region in the French and Indian war, they 
early settled on the Holston, and were accustomed from their 
childhood to border life and hardships ; ever ready at the tap 

* Saye's Memoir of Mcjunkin. 



of the drum to turn out on military service ; if, in the busiest 
crop season, their wives, sisters, and daughters could, in their 
absence, plant, and sow, and harvest. They were better 
educated than most of the frontier settlers, and had a more 
thorough understanding of the questions at issue between 
the Colonies and their mother country. These men went 
forth to strike their country's foes, as did the patriarchs of 
old, feeling assured that the God of battles was with them, 
and that He would surely crown their efforts with success. 
They had no doubts nor fears. The}' trusted in God — and 
kept their powder dry. Such a tiling as a coward was not 
known among them. How fitting it was, that to such a 
band of men should have been assigned, by Campbell's 
own good judgment, the attack on Ferguson's choicest 
troops — his Provincial Rangers. It was a happy omen of 
success — literally the forlorn hope — the right men in the 
right place. 

Lacey's men, mostly from York and Chester Counties, 
South Carolina, and some of those under Shelby, Sevier, 
Cleveland, Williams, Winston, and McDowell, were of the 
same character — Scotch-Irish Presbyterians ; but man}- of 
them, especiall}' those from the Nolachucky, Watauga, and 
lower Holston, who had not been very long settled on the 
frontiers, were more of a mixed race, somewhat rough, but 
brave, fearless, and full of adventure. They were not a 
whit less patriotic than the Virginians ; and were ever ready 
to hug a bear, scalp an Indian, or beard the fiercest Tories 
wherever they could find them. Such, in brief, were the 
salient characteristics of the mountaineers, and the men of 
the up-country of the Carolinas, who were about to engage 
in deadly conflict with Ferguson and his motle}' followers. 

The decisive moment was now at hand, and the moun- 
taineers were eager for the fray. Campbell and his corps 
commanders had arranged their forces into two divisions, as 
nearly equal as they could conveniently form them, each 
party to attack opposite sides of the mountain. Campbell 




was to lend his Virginians across the southern end of the 
ridge, and sf)uth-east side, which Shelby designates as tlie 
cohimn of the right center ; then Sevier's regiment, Mc- 
Dowell's and Winston's battalions, were to form a column 
on the right wing, north-east of Campbell, and in the order 
named, imder the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Sevier. 
Of these, Winston had, it will be remembered, made a 
detour some distance to the south of Ferguson, in order the 
more promptly to gain the position assigned him, and per- 
adventure lend a helping hand in retarding tlie enemy, 
should the}' conclude that a hasty retreat was the better 
part of vaU)r. 

Shelln-'s regiment was to take position on the left of the 
mountain, directly oj)posite to Campbell, and form the left 
center — Campbell's left and Shelby's right coming together ; 
and beyond Shelby were respectively Williams' command, 
including Brandon, Hammond, and Candler ; then the South 
Carolinians under Lacey, Hathorne, and Steen, with the 
remainder of the Wilkes and Surry men under Cleveland, 
together with the Lincoln troops under Chronicle and Ilam- 
bright, all under the direction of Colonel Cleveland. B}^ 
this disj")osition was the patriot force arranged in four col- 
umns — two on either side of the mountain, led respectively 
by Colonels Campbell and Sevier on the right, and Shelby 
and Cleveland on the left. It is reasonable to presume that, 
as Winston had been detached, when a mile awav, to gain 
his assigned position on the right, that Chronicle and Ham- 
bright were also early ordered to gain the extreme left por- 
tion of the mountain, so that these two parties should meet 
each other, and thus encompass the enemy on that end of 
the ridge. 

Before taking up the line of march, Campbell and the 
leading olllcers earnestly appealed to their soldiers — to the 
higher instincts of their natures, by all that was patriotic 
and noble among men, to fight like heroes, and give not an 
inch of ground, save only from the sheerest necessity, and 




then only to retrace and recover their lost ground at the 
earliest possihle moment. Campbell personally \isited all 
the corps ; and said to Cleveland's men, as he did to all, 
" that if any of them, men or officers, were afraid, to quit 
the ranks and go home ; that he wished no man to engage 
in the action who could not fight ; that, as for himself, he 
was determined to light the enemy a week, if need be, to 
gain the victor}-."* Colonel Campbell also gave the neces- 
sary orders to all the principal officers, and repeated them, 
so as to be heard by a large portion of the line, and then 
placed himself at the head of his own regiment, as the 
other officers did at the head of their respective commands.! 
Many of the men threw aside their hats, tying handker- 
chiefs around their heads, so as to be less likelv to be 
retarded by limbs and bushes when dashing up the moun- 
tain. \ 

At length the several corps started for the scene of con- 
flict, marching two men deep, led on by their gallant ofii- 
cers. Both the right and left wings were somewhat longer 
in reaching their designated places than had been expected. 
When Winston's party had marched about a mile, they 
reached a steep hill, losing sight of the other columns, and 
evidently of King's Mountain also. Some men riding in 
view directed them to dismount from their horses, and 
march up the hill, which was immediately done, with the 
anticipation of meeting the eneni}- on its summit ; but, be- 
fore they had advanced two hundred paces, they were again 
hailed, disabused of their error, and directed to re-mount 
their horses and push on, as King's Mountain was ^et a 
mile away. They now ran down the declivity with great 
precipitation to their horses, and, mounting them, rode, like 
so many fox hunters, at an almost break-neck speed, 
through rough woods and brambles, leaping branches and 




'■'Statement nf Joseph Phillips, one of CleveKinti's men. 

fMS. n.nrrativc of Gov. Campl)ell, 

t Mrs. Ellet's Women of the Revolution, iii, 293, 



crossing ridges, without a proper guide who had a personal 
knowledge of the countr}-. But they soon fell upon the 
enemy, as good luck would have it, at the very point of 
their intended destination. 

It was an erroneous idea of the South Carolina historian, 
Ramsay, that Cleveland's men, who had been compelled 
to make something of a circuit to reach their appointed po- 
sition in the arrangement for the onslaught, were the first 
to commence the action, and the lirst to receive a bayonet 
charge from the enemy. The official report, to which 
Cleveland gave the sanction of his signature, stutes that 
Shelb}' and Campbell's regiments began the attack. Such 
was the nature of the ground, and the thick, intervening 
foliage of the trees, that the Whigs were not discovered till 
within a quarter of a mile of Ferguson ; when the enemy's 
drums beat to arms, and the shrill whistle of their comman- 
der was distinctly heard, notifying his followers to repair to 
their places in the ranks, and be ready for liot work, for 
they well knew that no child's play was in reserve for them. 

A select party of Shelby's men undertook to siu-prise a 
picket \){ the enemy, of whose position they had previous 
knowledge and accomplished their purpose without firing 
a gun or giving the least alarm. This exploit seems to 
have occurred some distance from the mountain, and was 
hailed by the army as a good omen.* Orders had been 
given to the right and left wings, that when the center col- 
umns were ready for the attack, they were to give the signal 
by raising a regular frontier war-whoop, after the Indian 
stvle, and rush forward, doing the enemy a'l the injury 
possible ; and the others hearing the battle-shout and the 
reports of the rifles, were to follow suit. The first firing 
was heard on the north side of the mountain f — evidently 
made by the ene?riy upon Shelby's column, before they 
were in position to engage in the acdon. It was galling in 

♦Sharp's n?.rrative in the American Pioneer. 

f Young's auto-biography in the Orion magazine. 



its efFect, and not a little annoying to the mountaineers, 
some of whom, in their impatience, complained that it 
would ne\er do to be shot down without returning the lire. 
Shelby coolly replied, "'press on to your places, and then 
your lire will not be lost." * 

But before Shelby's men could gain their position. Col- 
onel Campbell had thrown otT his coat, and while leading 
his men to the attack, he exclaimed at the top of his voice, 
— "'Here they are, my brave boys; s/ioitt like Ji—h and 
fight like devils!'" The woods immediately resounded 
with the shouts of the line, in which they were heartil}' 
joined, first by Shelby's corps, and then instantly caught 
up by the others along the two wings. f When Captain 
De Peyster heard these almost deafening yells — the same 
in kind he too well remembered hearing from Shelby's men 
at Musgrove's Mill, — he remarked to Ferguson: "These 
things are ominous — these are the d — d yelling boys ! "J 
And when these terrific shouts saluted Ferguson's ears, he 
expressed fears for the result. § 

About the time the Virginians advanced to the conflict. 
Major Micajah Lewis, with his brother, Captain Joel Lewis, 
both of the Wilkes and Surry troops, with Captain Andrew 
Colvill, of the Virginia regiment, had been designated by 
Colonel Campbell to make a dash on horseback upon the 
British main guard, half way up the spur of the mountain ; 
and having swept them out of the way, to fall back, dis- 
mount, and join the others in the general advance. Here 
the first heav}' firing took place between the contending 
parties, the guard commencing it. The mountaineers raised 
the Indian war-whoop and rushed upon the foe, who soon 
retreated, leaving some of their men to crimson the earth 
with their blood. 11 

■^Graham's sketch in /he Southern Literary Messenger, and Foote's North Carolina. 

•J- Statement of Jolin Craig, one of CanipbeU's men ; conver!>ations with Gov, David 
Campbell, in 1844 

J Statement, in 1844. of Col George Wilson. 

^Gov. Campbell's statement. 

1 MS. statement of J. L. Gray, and his communication in the Rutherford Enquirer. 
May 24th, 1859. 

! ; 

■iT , . ■ 

nv " 




One of the mountaineers came within rille shot of a 
Britisli sentinel before tiie latter perceived him ; on discov- 
erinL,f the American, he discharj^ecl his musket, and ran 
vvitli all his speed towards the camp on the hill. This ad- 
venturous Whig, who had pressed forward considerably in 
advance of his fellows, quickly dismounted, leveled his rifle, 
hring at the retreating Briton, the ball striking him in the 
back of the head, when he fell ami expired.* Among the 
slain of the Virginians wjis Lieutenant Robert Edmondson, 
and John Beatty, the ensign of ColvilTs company, while 
Lieutenant vSamuel Newell, also of Colvill's corps, was 
wounded. Retiring down the hill, Newell passed Colonel 
Campbell and Major Edmondson hurrying on the regiment 
into action. 

But Newell was too good a soldier to give up at the very 
commencement of the tight ; and returning some distance, 
he came across a horse, mounting which he rode back to 
the lines to perlbrm his share in the conflict.! 

What terse, patriotic utterances were made by the se\-- 
eral Whig leaders to their heroic followers, have been main- 
ly lost to history. Such words had their intended effect at 
the time : but all were too intent on the exciting scenes be- 
tbre them, to treasure up in their memories these outbursts 
of patriotism. Cleveland and his men, while passing 
around to the left of the mountain, were somewhat retarded 
by a swamp\^ piece of ground then saturated with water ; + 
but, getting clear of this, Cleveland discovered an advance 
picket of the enemy, when he made the following charac- 
teristic speech to his troops — nut, under the circumstances, 
in a very formal manner we may well conclude, but, most 
likely, by piece-meal, as he rode along the lines: 

"My brave fellows, we have beaten the Tories, and we 
can beat them again. They are all cowards : if they had 

♦This incident is given on authority of a writer in the Rutherford Enquirer, May 24th, 
1859 signing liimself "J. L. fl." — J. L. Gray. 

+ Statements of Lieutenant Newell and Ensign Robert Campbell. 
J Sharp's narrative. 

I '! 




the spirit of men, they would join with their fellow-citizens 
in supportiiiif the independence of their country. Wlien 
you are eiiL,Mged, you are not to wait for the word of com- 
mand from me. I will show you, by my example, how to 
I'ght ; I can undertake no more. Every man must consider 
himself an ollicer, and act from his own judgment. Fire 
as quick as \()u can, and stand your ground as long as you 
can. When you can do no better, get behind trees, or 
retreat; but I beg you not to run quite ofV. If we are 
repulsed, let us make a point of returning, and rencN^ing 
the light ; perhaps we may have better luck in the second 
attempt than the first. If any of you are afraid, such sliall 
have leave to retire, and they are requested immediately to 
take themselves otV." * But a single man, John Judd, 
intimated a preference to remain behind — " to hold the 
horses," as he expressed it ; while, to redeem the honor of 
the family, his brother, Rowland Judd, went forward, and 
acted die part of a brave soldier in the trying conllict.f 
The distance that Cleveland's men had to march, with the 
swampy nature of their route, delayed them some ten min- 
utes in reaching the place assigned them. But they nobly 
made amends for their delay by their heroic conduct in the 
action. The picket that the}- attacked soon gave way, and 
they were rapidly pursued up the mountain. 

Doctor Moore asserts, that it has always been the tradi- 
tion in the Kind's Mountain reijion, that inasmuch as Col- 
onel Lacey rode the express, and gave the patriots at Green 
river the true sitiuidon of Ferguson, Colonel Campbell gave 
him the honor of commencing the battle — the friends of 
Campbell, Shelb}', Sevier, Winston, and Roebuck have for 
each also claimed the same honor ; that Lacey led on his 
men from the north-western and most level side of the 
mountain, engaging the attention of the foe, while Cleve- 

* Ramsay's R,-;'olution in South CaroUnn, 1785,11,182-83. This speech was derived 
apparcnily from Colimel Cleveland himself. 

+ MS. correspondiiue of Col. H. A. Brown, formerly of Wilkes County, N. C, now of 
Maury County, Tennessee. 

t ■ 





huul and the other leaders marched to their respective 
phices of assignment, completely encircling Ferguson's 
army. * Judging tVom the ollicial report, this tradidon has 
no substantial foundation ; yet Lacey, no doubt, anticipated 
Cleveland, and perluips some of the other regimental ami 
battalion commandants, in engaging the attention of the 
enemy, and taking part in the conflict. 

Where Campbell's men ascended the mountain to com- 
mence the attack was rough, craggy, and rather abrupt — the 
most dillicult of ascent of any part of the ridge ; but these 
resolute mountaineers permitted no obstacles to prevent 
them from advancing upon the foe, creeping up the accliv- 
ity, little by little, and from tree to tree, till they were 
nearly at the top — the action commencing at long fire, f 
The Virginians were the first upon whom Ferguson ordered 
his Rangers, with doubtless a part of his Loyali 's, to make 
a fixed bayonet charge. Some of the Virginians obsti- 
nately stood their ground till a few of them were thrust 
through the body ; but being unable, with rifles only, to 
withstand such a charge, they broke and fled down the 
mountain — further, indeed, than was necessary. ;J In this 
rapid charge, Allaire, of Ferguson's corps, over- 
took an oflicer of the mountaineers, fully six feet high ; and 
the British Lieutenant being mounted, dashed up beside his 
adversar}-, and killed him with a single blow of his sword. § 
But the British chargers did not venture quite to the bottom 
of the hill, before they wheeled, and quickly retired to the 
summit. Campbell's men ran across the narrow interven- 
ing valley to the top of die next ridge. Colonel Campbell 
and Major Edmondson, about half way between their men 
and the enemy, were loudly vociferating to their Virginians 
to halt and rally ; and Lieutenant Newell, now mounted, 
joined them in this effort. The men were soon formed, and 

* Life of Lacey, 17-18. 

t Statement of James Crow, of Campbell's men. 

J Statement of Lieutenant Newell. 

'i Lieutenant Allaires' narrative in the New York Royal Gazette, Feb. 24, 1781. 





again led up by their heroic commaiuU'r to renew the con- 
test. * It was during' this attack that Lieutenant Robert 
Echnondson, the younger, of Captain Uavid Ikallie's com- 
pany — for tliere were two Lieutenants of tlie Virginians of 
that name — was wounded in the arm. lie then siieltered 
himself behind a tree, with one of his soldiers, John Craig, 
who bandaged up his limb. By this time Campbell's men 
were successfully rallied, and were returning to the charge, 
when Edmondson exclaimed, " Let us at it again I " f Of 
such grit was Campbell's Ibjlston soldiers composed ; and 
as long as there was any iighting to be done for their 
country, and they could stand upon their feet, they never 
failed to share largely in it. , 

Colonel Shelbv has briefly stated his knowledire of this 
heroic m(nement of Campbell and his men. "On the iirst 
onset," says Shelby, " the Washington militia attempted 
rapidly to ascend the mountain ; but were met by the British 
regulars with fixed bayonets, and forced to retreat. They 
were soon r.illied by their gallant commander, and some of 
his active oflicers, and by a constant and well-directed fire 
of our rifles we drove them back in our turn, and reached 
the sumir.itof the mountain."* Or, as cited by Haywood, 
and understood to be also from a statement by Shelb}- : 
"Campbell, with his division, ascended the hill, killing all 
that came in his way, till coming near enough to the main 
body of the enemy, who were posted upon the summit, he 
poured in upon them a most deadly fire. The enemy, with 
fixed bayonets, advanced upon his troops, who gave way 
and went down the hill, where they rallied and formed, and 
again advanced. The monntain was covered with ftiane 
aud smoke, and seemed to thiinder.^''% 

While Ferguson's Rangers were thus employed in their 
dashing bayonet charge against Campbell's column, Shelby 


♦Statements of Newell, and David Campbell, afterwards of Campbell's Station, Tenn. 

f John Craig's statement. 

t Shelby's letter to Col. Arthur Campbell Oct. I2, 1780. 

g Haywood's Tenncstee, 71. 



! Ill 



was pressinjif tlie enemy on the ojiposite side and south- 
western end of the mountain ; so that tlie Provincials found 
it necessary to turn their attention to tliis body of tlie 
mountaineers. "Shelby, a man of the hardiest make, stilV 
as iron, among the dauntless singled out for dauntlessness, 
went right onward and upward like a man who had but one 
thing to do, and but one thouglit — to <\o it. " '■ But bra\e 
as he and his men were, they, too, had to retreat before the 
charging column, yet slowly liring as they retired. When, 
at the bottom of the hill, Shelby wanted to bring his men to 
order, he would cry out — '* Now, boys, quickly re-load vour 
rifles, and let's advance upon them, and give them 
another h — 1 of a fire ! " f 

Thus were Campbell's and Shelby's men hotly engaged 
some ten minutes before the right and left wings reached 
their points of destination, when, at length, they shared in 
completely encompassing the enemy, and joined in the 
deadly *ray. Ferguson soon found that he had nc^t somach 
the advantage in position as he had anticipated ; for the sum- 
mit of the mountain was bare of timber, exposing his men to 
the assaults of the bac c-woods riflemen, who, as they 
pressed up the ridge, a\'ailed themseKes of the trees on its 
sides, which aflbrded lliem protection, and which served to 
retard the movements of the British charging parties. As 
the enem^' were drawn up in close cokunn on the crest of 
the mountain, they presented a fair mark for the rifles of the 
mountaineers, t and the\- suflered severely by the exposure, 
'^riie famous cavahy Colonel, Harry Lee, well observed of 
Ferguson's chosen place for battle — it was '* uKjre assailable 
by the rifle than defensible with the bayonet." «$ /^.^,, rjc 

Among the keenest of the sharp-shooters imder^^Wl^ 
was Josiah Culbertson, so favorably noticed elsewhere in 
this work. He had been selected with others to get pos- 

'•' nanrroft. x. 338. 

t MS. statement of Gen Thomas I.ove, il:rivcil from Captain David Vance, 

\ Shelby's narrative in ttic American A'?wc;i<.'s Memoirs of the War, revised edition, N. V., 1872, p 200. 

I ' 




session of an elevuti'd position, for which a Tory Captain 
and a party under liim stoutly contended ; bnt Culbertson 
and his riflemen were too alert for their antagonists, and 
pressinj^ closely upon them, forced them to retire to some 
large rocks, where Culbertson at length shot their leader in 
the head, when the survivors fled, and soon after with their 
fellows were compelled to surrender. * 

Captain Moses Shelby, a brother of the Colonel, received 
two wounds in the acti(jn — the last through his thigh near 
his body, disabling it, so that he could not stand without help. 
He was assisted down to a branch, some distance from the 
foot of the mountain, and was left with his rifle for his de- 
fence, should 'le need it. Seeing one of the soldiers coming 
down too frequently to tlie branch under plea of thirst. 
Captain Shelby admonished him if he repeated his visit he 
would shoot him ; that it was no time to shirk duty, f 

But a portion of the Tories had concealed themselves 
behind a chain of rocks in that quarter, from which they 
kept up a destructive lire on the Americans. As Camp- 
bell's and Shelby's men came in contact at the south- 
western end of the ridge, Shelby directed Ensign Robert 
Campbell, of the Viginians, to move to the right, with a 
small party, and endeavor to dislodge the enemv from 
their rocky ramparts. Ensign Campbell led his men, 
under lire of the British and Tory lines, within forty steps 
of them ; but discovering that the Whigs had been driven 
down the hill, he gave orders to his party to post them- 
selves, as securely as possible, opposite to the rocks and 
near to the enemy, while he himself went to the assistance 
of Campbell and his fellow ofllcers in bringing the regiment 
to, order, and renewing the contest. These directions were 
punctually obeyed, and the watching part}- kept up so gall- 
ing a fire with their well-plied rifle shots, as to compel 

* Washing'oii. Imliana, Weekly Register, Oct. 17, 1339. 

+ Captain Mosus Shelby's SMtemcnt. Conversation with Maj. Thomas H. Shelby, 
son of Governor Shelby, in i86j. 





FergiKson to order a stronger force to cover and strengthen 
his men behind their rocky defence ; but, towards the close 
of the action, they were forced to retire, with tlieir demor- 
ahzed associates, to the north-eastern portion of the moun- 

The battle now raging all around the mountain was almost 
terrific. '• When that conflict began," exclaimed the late 
eloquent Bailie Peyton, of Tennessee, " the mountain 
appeared volcanic ; there flashed along its summit, and 
around its base, and up its sides, one long sulphurous 
blaze." t The shouts of the mountaineers, the peals of 
hundreds of rifles and muskets, the loud commands and 
encouraging words of the respective officers, with every 
now and then the shrill screech of Ferguson's silver 
whistle high above the din and confusion of the battle, 
intermingled with the groans of the wounded in every part 
of the line, combined to convey the idea of another pande- 

Colonel Lacey and his gallant South Carolinians, who 
had seen hard service under Sumter on manv a well-fought 
field, rushed forward to share in the contest. At the very 
first fire of the enemy. Colonel Lacey 's fine horse was shot 
from under him. With a single exception these South 
Carolinians, mosth' from York and Chester, proved them- 
selves worthy of the high reputation they had gained on 
other fields. That exception was an amusing one — a man 
who, at heart, was as true a patriot as could be fi)und in the 
Carolinas : but who constitutionally could not stand the smell 
of powder, and invariabh- ran iti the very first fire, 
W^hen about going into action to fight Ferguson and his 
Tories, his friends, knowing his weakness, advised him to 
remain behind. "No," said he, indignantly, "I am 
determined to stand my ground to-day, live or die.'" True 
to his instinct, at the very first fire he took to his heels, as 

* Ensign CampbelVs narr.itivc ; liis statement, also, as published in i8a3. 
+ Mr. Peyton's speech in Congress, January i6th, 1834. 



usual. After the battle was over, when he returned, his 
friends chided him for his conduct. " From the lirst tire," 
said he, by way of apolojf\-, " I knew nothing whatever 
till I was gone about a hundred and fifty yards ; and when 
I came to myself, recollecting my resolves, I tried to stop; 
but my confounded legs would carry nic off!'' * But for- 
tunately his associates were made up of better material, 
and rendered tlieir c<)untr\ i^ood service on this occasion. 

No regiment had their courage and endurance more 
severely tested than Campbell's. They were the lirst in 
the onset — the lirst to be charged down the declivity by 
Ferjjuson's Rany^ers — and the first to ralh" and retiu-n to 
the contest. Everything depended upon successfully rally- 
ing the men when lirst driven down the mountain. Had 
they have become demoralized as did the troops at Gates' 
defeat near Camden, and as did some of Greene's militia 
at Guilford, thev would have brouijht disgrace and disaster 
upon the Whig cause. When repulsed at the point of the 
bayonet, the well-known voice of their heroic commander 
bade them " lialt I — return my brave fellows, and you will 
drive the enemy immediately I "f lie was promptly obeyed, 
for Campbell and his otlicers had the full confidence and 
control of their mountaineers. They bravely faced about, 
and drove the enemy, in turn, up the mountain. In these 
desperate attacks, many a hand-to-hand fight occurred, and 
many an act of heroism transpired, the wonder and admir- 
ation of all beholders ; but there were so many such heroic 
incidents, where all were heroes, that only the particulars 
of here and there one have been handed down to us. 
Ensign Robert Campbell, at the head of a charging party, 
with singular boldness and address, killed Lieutenant 
McGinnis, a brave ofllcer of Ferguson's Rangers. I 

Captain William Edmondson, also of Campbell's regi- 
ment, remarked to John McCrosky, one of his men, that 

* Moore's /.//"c i?/" I.ncey, i8. 

fSiatement of David Campbell, of Campbell's Station, who shared in the action. 

X Ramsey's Tennesste, 240. 

! r' 






he was not satisfied with his position, and dashed forward 
into the hottest part of the battle, and ,there received the 
charge of UePeyster's Rangers, discharged his gun, then 
clubbed it and knocked the rille out of the grasp of one 
of tlie Britons. Seizing him by the neck, he made him his 
prisoner, and brouglit him to the foot of the hill. Returning 
again up the mountain, he bravely fell fighting in front of 
his company, near his beloved Colonel. His faithful 
soldier, McCrosky, when the contest was ended, went in 
search of his Captain, found him, and related the great 
victory gained, when the dying man nodded his salifaclion 
of tlie result. The stern Colonel Campbell was seen to 
brush away a tear, when he saw his good friend and heroic 
Captain stretched upon the ground under a tree, with one 
hand clutching his side, as if to restrain his life blood from 
ebbing away until tlie battle was over. lie heard the sliout 
of victory as his commander and friend grasped his other 
hand. He was past speaking ; but he kissed his Colonel's 
hand, smiled, loosed his feeble hold on life, and the 
Christian patriot went to his reward.* 

Lieutenant Reece Bowen, who commanded one of the 
companies of the Virginia regiment, was observed while 
marchinti forward to attack tlie enemv, to make a hazard- 
ous and unnecessary exposure of his person. Some friend 
kindly remonstrated with him — "Why Bowen, do you not 
take a tree — why rashly present }ourself to the deliberate 
aim of the Provincial and Tory riflemen, concealed beliind 
every rock and bush before you? — death will inevitably 
follow, if you persist." "Take to a tree," he indignantly 
replied — " no I— never shall it be said, that I sought safety 
by hiding my person, or dodging from a Briton or Tory 
who opposed me in the field." Well iijid it been for liim 
and his countiy, had he been more prudent, and, as his 

* Ramsey's Tennessee. 240-41 ; GenernI John S. Preston's Address at the King's Moun- 
tain Celebration in October. 1855 p. (Vi. Ramsey states, Captain F.dmon(!=on received 
a mortal wound in the breast, while Charles Rmven, one of his soldiers, says he was shot 
in the head. He may have been shut both in the head and body. 




superiors had advised, taken slielter whenever it could be 
found, for lie had scarcely concluded his brave utterance, 
when a riile ball struck him in the breast, lie fell and 
expired. * 

The " red-haired Campbell — the claymore of the Arg^de 
gleaming in his hand, and his blue eye glittering with a 
lurid llame," wherever he was, dashing here and there 
along the line, was himself a host. His clarion voice rang 
out above the clash of resounding arms and the peals of 
successive riflery, encouraging his heroic mountaineers to 
victor}-. And thus the battle raged with increased fury — the 
mountain men constantly gaining more confidence, and 
steadily lessening the number of their foes. 

Nor were the other columns idle. Major Chronicle 
and Lieutenant Colonel Ilambright led their litde band of 
South Fork boys up the north-east end of the mountain, 
where the ascent was more abrupt than elsewhere, save 
where Campbell's men made their attack. As they reached 
the base of the ridge, with Chronicle some ten paces in 
advance of his men, he raised his military hat, crying out — 
"Face to the hill I " He had scarcely uttered his conmiand, 
when a ball struck him, and he fell ; and William Rabb, 
within some six feet of Chronicle, was killed almost in- 
stantly thereat'ter. The men steadily pressed on, under the 
leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Ilambright, Major Joseph 
Dickson, and Captains Mattocks, Johnston, White, Espey 
and Martin — a formidable list of oflicers for so small a body 
of men : but they all took their places in the line, and f(Hight 
with determined heroism. Before they reached the crest of 
the mountain, the enem^^ charged bayonet — said to have 
been led by DePeyster — first firing ofi' their guns, by which 
Robert Henry supposed that Captain Mattocks and John 
Boyd vvere killed, and W^illiam Gilmer, a brother of the 

''Garden's Anecdotes, second series, p. 212. presumably communicated for that work 
by JiiciRe Peter Johnston, of Ahin(»don, Virginia, a distinguished uiriuer of Lee's Legion 
during the Revnhition, and the ancestor of the present Oen. Joseph E. Johnston, and 
Hon. John W. Johnston, United States Stnator from that State. 




1 I 

noted scout, and John Chittim wounded — the latter of 
Captain Martin's company, was shot in his side, makini^ an 
orifice, tlu'ough which, according to tradition, a silk hand- 
kerchief could be drawn, and yet he recovered, living to a 
good old age. * 

One gallant young felk)W, B'.obert Henry, then in his 
sixteenth year, had taken his position behind a log stretched 
across a hollow ; and was getting ready to give the enemy 
another shot, when the bayonet chargers came dashing 
along. One of the enemy was advancing rapidly on 
young Henry, who was in the act of cocking his gun, when 
his antagonist's bayonet glanced along Henry's gun-barrel, 
passing clear through one of his hands, and penetrating into 
his thigh. Ilenr}-, in the viclii\ had shot the Tory, and 
both fell to the ground — the young Whig hero completely 
transfixed. Henry was pretty well enveloped in powder- 
smoke ; but sad and helpless as was his condition, he could 
not help observing that man}^ of his South Fork friends 
were not more than a gun's length ahead of the Tory b.13'- 
onets, and the farthest could not have exceeded twenty feet, 
when they fired, with deadly efiect, upon their pursuers, 
and retired to the bottom of the hill, quickl3' re-loading, and 
in turn chasing their enemies up the mountain. 

William Caldwell, one of Henry's companions, seeing 
his situation, pulled the bayonet out of his thigh ; but find- 
injx it vet stickini; fast to the young soldier's hand, cfave the 
wounded limb a kick with his boot, which loosened the 
bloody instrument from its hold. Henry suffered more in 
the operation of extracting the bayonet, thuii when the 
Briton made the eflective thrust, driving it through his hand 
and into his thigh. Again upon his feet, he picked up his 
gun with his lUiinjured hand, and found it empty — how, he 
could not tell ; but supposed, as he received the terrible 
bayonet thrust, that he must, almost instinctivel}', have 
touched the trigger, and discharged his rifle, and that the 

■MS. letter of Dr. C, L. Hunter. 



ball must have cut .some main artery of his antagonist, as 
he bled profusely.* 

Another incicU-nt of the battle : Wlien William Twitty, 
who behaved so gallantly in the defence of Graham's Fort 
the preceding summer, and now serving among the South 
Fork or Lincoln bo3S, discovered that his most intimate 
crou}- had been shot down by his side, he believed that he 
knew from the powder-smoke, from behind which tree the 
fatal ball had sped ; and watching his oppoi tunit}- to avenge 
the death of his friend, he had not long to wait, for soon he 
observed a head puking itself out from its shelter, when li<> 
quick)}' fired, and the Tory fell. After the battle, Twitty 
repaired to the tree and found one of his neighbors, a well- 
known Loyalist, with his brains blown out.f ,^«itN^-«^ 

Abram Forney, a brave soldier of Captain rWiH4it«> 
Johnston's company, of the Lincoln men, used in after 
years to relate this inci'lent of tlu' battle: When the contest 
had become warm and well-maintained on both sides, a 
small party of Whigs, not relishing the abundance of lead 
flying all around them, and occasionally cutting down some 
gallant comrade at their side, concluded to take temporary 
slieker behind an old hollow chestnut tree — a mere shell — 
which stood near, and from its walls to pour tbrth a 
destructive lire upon the enemy. The" British, however, 
presently observed the quarter whence this galling fire 
proceeded, and immediateh' returned their compliments in 

*MS. narrntivc of Robert Henry; MS. li:t cr of Robert C., Sept 29th. 1358, 
givinff statement ■ derived from .in interview with Mr. Henry. 

Mr. Henry was burn in .1 rail pen, in then Rowan, now Iredall Coun'.y. North Carolina, 
January 10th, 1765. Full of patriotism, though youn,i;. he shared in the triaK anti perils of 
the Revolution, and in due time recovered from the severe wounds he rei eived at King s 
Mountain. In 1795. he was one of the party who ran the boundary line between North 
Carolina and Tennessee. He subsequently studied law, and practised his profession many 
years in Buncombe County. He served in the House of Commons in 1833 and 1834. He 
was a clear anil forcible pnl)!ic speaker ; and his memory deserves to be held in j;ratefu! 
remembrance for preserving the narrative of the King's Mountain cantpaii;n and battle, so 
frequently cited in this work. He died in the new County of Clay, Noith Carolina, 
January 6th, 1863, within four days of attaining the patriarchal age of ninety-eight years, 
and he was undoubtedly the last of the heroes of King's Mountain. 

•J- MS. correspondence of Wm. L. Twitty, grandson of William Twitty. 

11 i 




the shape- of «'i few well-aimed volleys at the old shell, com- 
pletely perforating it with balls, and finally shivering it in 

When Cleveland's regiment hastened to their appointed 
place of attack, under a heavy lire while on tlio wa)-, their 
brave commander exclaimed, pointing signilicantly to the 
mountain, "Yonder is your enemy, and the enemy of 
mankind!" They were soon hoUy engagetl with the 
Lo3'alists lining tlie brow of the eminence before them. 
From the Colonel dt)wn to the humblest private they all 
heartily detestt'd Tories, and fouglU them with a resolute 
determination to subdue tliem at all hazards. They souglit 
all natural places of protection — trees, logs, rocks, and 
bushes; when Cleveland would, ever and anon, vocifer- 
ously urge onward and upward his troops— "a little nearer 
to them, my brave men I " And the men of Wilkes and 
Surry would then dart from their places of concealment, and 
make a dasli for more advanced positions. Occasionally 
one of their number wouUl fall, which only served to nerve 
on the survivors to punish the Tories yet more efTectually. 

In one of these bold and dashing forays, Lieutenant 
Samuel Johnson, of Captain Joel Lewis' company, was more 
adventurous than prudent, and found himself and men in a 
most dangerous and exposed position, wliicli resulted in the 
loss of several of his soldiers, and receiving himself a severe 
wound in the abdomen. Three bullet holes were made in 
one skirt of his coat, and four in the other. After Lieuten- 
ant Johnson had fallen, and while the contest was yet 
fiercely raging around him, he repeatedly threw up his 
hands, shouting — '^ Ilitzza., boys!'''' The salvation of his 
life was attributed to the scanty amount of food he had taken 
during the three days preceding the battle, so difficult had 
it been to obtain it. f Of his fellow officers of Cleveland's 
regiment who were also among the wounded, were Major 

♦ Dr. C. L. Hunter, in Wheeler's North Carolina, ii, 245. 

f Pension statement of Johnson's widow, substanti- ted by surviving witnesses. 



Miciijiih Li'wis, Captain Joel Lewis, Captain Minor Smith, 
and Lieutenant James AL Lewis ; the three wounded Lewises 
were brothers, and a noble triumvirate they were. Danii'l 
Siske and Thomas Bicknell were amon<^ the killed of the 
Wilkes regiment, as the manuscript records ot' that county 

Many a mortal combat and hand-to-hand rencontre, 
took place in this part of the line. Charles Gordon, appar- 
ently a young otlicer, made a cjuick, bold movement into 
the midst of the enemy, seizing a Tory ollicer by his cue. 
and connnenced dragging him down the mountain, when 
the fellow suddenly drew and discharged his pistol, break- 
ing Gordon's left arm ; whereupon the latter, with his sword 
in hand, killed the ollicer outright. The whole allair was 
but the work of a moment, and was regarded at the lime as 
an intrepid act — a prodigy of valor. * David Witherspoon, 
also of Cle\eland's regiment, in getting into close quarters, 
discovered one of the enemy prostrate on the groimd, 
loading and firing in rapid succession. Witherspoon drew 
his rifle on him and llred, when the Red Coat, wounded, 
pitched the butt of his gun, in submission, towards his 
antagonist, thrcnving up his hands imploring meixx- ; and 
when Witherspoon reached him. he found his mouth full of 
balls, chewing them so as to make ihein jagged, and rendt r 
the wounds they might inilict more fatal, f 

Early in ..e engagement. Colonel Cleveland's noble 
•steed, "Roebuck," received two wounds, and he had to dis- 
mount ; vet, nnwieldly as he was, he managed under the 
excitement surrounding him, to keep fully up with his men, 

*MS. statci.u:nts of Rev. Z. H. Gordon, and Mrs Sarah C, Law, nephew and niece of 
the hero of this alvenlnre. Charles Gordon was a native of the Frcdcrickshnri; region, in 
Virginia, early set. ling in wliat suhsequenlly liecanie Wilkes (.'ounty, Nnrtli Carolina, 
where he filled pnhlic positions, anil hecanie a Major in the militia. He married a dauyliter 
of General Lenoir, dyini; near what is now Patterson, Caldwell Connty, in that Slate. 
March 24, 1799. ^' '''^ •''Se" of ahont thirty-seven years Charles (1, McDowell, of Shnfords- 
ville. N. C, and the l.idy of Hon James C. Harper of I'atterson, are his grandchildren, 
and Mr'!. C. A. Cilloy. of Lenoir, N C, is his great sranddanghtcr. 

v MS. letter of Ciil. J, W. Witlierspoon, a son of David Witherspoon, Nov. J5, iSSo, 
giving the incident as related to him by his father. 




V mp 






u m 12.2 











JJ I iiiiiwpiiip 


Mi Til 








and, with rifle in hand, galhintly fulfilHng all the duties of 
the occasion ; until he was at length reino uited, one of his 
men bringing him another horse. * An incicitit occurred, 
near the close of the contest, of an exciting character, and 
which very nearly cost the heroic Colonel his life. Charles 
Bowen, of Captain William Edmondson's company, of 
Campbell's regiment, heard vaguely that his brother, Lieu- 
tenant Reece Bowen, had been killed, and was much dis- 
tressed and exasperated in consequence. On the spur of 
the moment, and without due consivl«_i"ation of the danger 
he incurred, he commenced a wild and hurried search for 
liis brother, hoping he might yet find him in a wounded 
condition onl}'. He soon came across his own fallen Cap- 
tain Edmondson, shot in the head, and dying ; and hurry- 
ing from one point to another, he at length found himself 
within fifteen or twenty paces of the enemy, and near to 
Colonel Cleveland, when he slipped behind a tree. 

At this time, the eneni}- began to waver, and show 
signs of surrendering. Bowen promptly shot down the first 
man among them who hoisted a flag ; and immediately, as 
the custom was, turned his back to the tree, to re-load, 
when Cleveland advanced on foot, suspecting from the 
wildness of his actions that he was a Tory, and demanded 
the countersign, which Bowen, in his half-bewildered state 
of mind, had, for the time being, forgotten. Cleveland, 
now confirmed in his conjectures, instantly levelled his rifle 
at Bowen's breast, and attempted to shoot ; but fortunately 
it missed fu'e. Bowen enraged, and perhaps hardly aware 
of his own act, jumped at and seized Cleveland by the 
collar, snatched his tomahawk from his belt, and would in 
anotlier moment have buried it in the Colonel's brains, had 
not his arm been arrested by a soldier, named Buchanan, who 
knew both parties. Bowen, now coming to himself, recol- 
lected the countersign, and gave it — " Buford ;" when 
Cleveland dropped his gun, and clasped Bowen in his arms 

* Sharp's narrative. 



for joy, tliat each had so narrowly and unwittingly been re- 
strained Irom sacrificing tlie other.* Well has a noble 
South Carolina orator, a grandson of the illustrious Camp- 
bell, described him-" Cleveland, so brave and yet so 
gentle !" f 

♦Bowen's MS. pension statement, 1832, then of Rlonnt County, Tenn 
f Ocn. John S. Preston's King's Mountain Address.iSss, p. 60. 




The Battle.— October 7th, 1780. 

Furtlier Progress and Incidents of ilic Contest. — Heroic Act of William 
Robertson. — Thomas Robertson Shoots a Tricky Tory, — Treatrient 
of the Tory, Branson, by Captain Withroiu. — Captain Lenoir s 
Part in the Battle. — Captain Robert Sevier Wounded. — Alarm 
concerning Tarleton. — Mistake caused by Campbell's Bald Faced 
Horse. — CamphelTs Daring Reconnoitre. — Anecdote of Cleveland. 
— Colonel Williams' Patriotic Conduct. — William Giles "Creased" 
— Revives, and Renews the Fight. — Thomas Young's Relation of 
Colonel Williams' I-'all. — Major Hammond's Desperate Charge, 
and singular Premonition of one of his Men. — Campbell and .Shelby 
Reneiving the Attack. — Lieutenant- Colonel Hambright Wounded. — 
Ferguson's Pride and Recklessness — Attempting to Fscape, is 
Mortally {Founded. — Various Statements of Colonel Williams' 
Fall. — Furious Charge of Campbell's and Shelby's Men. Several 
Corps driven down the Mountain. — British Over-Shoot the Whigs. — 
North Carolina Tories first to Weaken. — Colonel Graham's Cnex- 
pectcd Return. — Ferguson's Fall — DePeyster Vindicated. — U 'higs 
slow to Recognise the White Flag. — 3 oung Ser'ier's .Shooting 
Paroxysm. — Efforts of Shelby and Campbell to (Juell the Firing of 
the Whigs. — Three Rousing Cheers for the Great Victory. — 
Colonel Williams' Shot — an Exciting Scene. — Conflicting Stories 
of his Fatal Charge. — British Ofjicers Surrender their Swords. — 
Ferguson's Heroic Conduct in the Battle — his Mistakes. — He was 
Mortally Wounded, not Killed Out- Right. — Curiosity of the Whigs 
to Vie7v his Body. — His Mistresses. — Privations and .Sufferings of 
the Mountaineers. — Strength of the Tories — Absence of their 
Leaders. — Their Fighting (Jnalities. — Dismay of the Southern 
British Commanders. — Their Ignorance of the Over-Mountain 
Whig Settlements. — Boone not on the Campaign. — Duration of the 
Battle. — Strength and Lttsses of the British and Tories. — Colonels 
yohn and Patrick Moore. — Number of Prisoners Taken. — Errors 
in Reports of Losses. — Names of Whigs Killed and Wounded. — 
Death of Captain Sevier. — William Moore Wounded. — Remarkable 
Losses in Campbell's Regiment. — Captains Weir and Shannon 




Arrii'c — Counting the Dnu/. — Caring for tlie Wounded. — Guard- 
ing the I'i isoners. — Seareify of Provisions. — Kings Mountain 
Sou:'enirr. — Heart-Rending .Scenes of the Patile-Field. — The 
JSight ajier the Action. 

All the dincrent corps fought Avell at King's Mountain. 
The 15urkc and Ruthcn-ford battalion, under McDowell and 
Hampton, performed their lull share in the engagement. 
Among Hampton's men was William Robertson, who 
during the light was sliot completeh- through the body, the 
ball entering at one side, and passing out at the other. 
He fell quite helpless to the ground. His wound was 
apparently mortal, and chancing to recognize one of his 
neighbors lying down near him, he anxiously inquired if he, 
too, was wounded. The reply was, that his gun was choked, 
or something of tiic kind, and would not lire. Robertson 
then gave him his rifle. "Give me 3'our shot-bag, also, 
old fellow," he added, for his own supply was exhausted. 
With his own liiiUd the fallen patriot delivered him 
his ammunition. But God was better to the woundinl 
hero than his fears ; for in due time he recovered, and raised 
a family, living near, in Rutherford Count}-, on 
the farm now occupied by ^^^illiam L. Twitty. * 

Thomas Robertson, a brother of the wounded man, was 
posted behind a tree, whiMi a Tory neighbor, named 
Lallerty, discovering him, called him by name; and Rob- 
ertson peering around the tree to see, if he could, who had 
spoken to him, when a ball sped quickly past him, cutting 
the bark of the tree near his head. Rol; -Ison instantly 
fired back, before his antagonist could regain his position, 
mortally wounding the tricky Tory, who was near enough 
to exclaim, and be heard, '^ Robertson, you have ruined 
me I" " The d — 1 help you," respo..ded the Whig, and then 
re-loading his rifle, renewed tht; fight for freedom. A Tory 
named Branson was wounded and fell : and seeing his 

*Gen. Lenoir, ill Wheeler's Nortli CnroHnn. ii, 107; MS. correspondence ol Wm. L. 
Twitty, who derived the incidLMit from A. 13. Lung. 







Wlii^ brothcr-iii-law, Captain James Witliro\v,of TTampton's 
men, boLT^od liis relation to assist him. "Look to your 
friends lb) helo," was the response, evincive of the bitter- 
ness that existed between the Whigs and Loyalists in those 
times. * 

All of Captain William Lenoir's company- of Cleveland's 
regiment, save half a dozen, remained behind with the other 
footmen at Green river, while the Captain himself went 
forward in a private capacity, falling into line wherever he 
Ibund it most convenient — liiihtinjj; *' on his own hook." 
He fell in immediately behind Winston's men, in front of 
the right hand column, where he could see what was going 
on under McDowell and Hampton. He says he advanced 
the nearest wa\' toward the enemy, under a hea\}' tire, 
until he got within thirty paces. He noticed the particular 
instance of bravery- just related of William Robertson. 
"About that time," he adds, "I received a slight wound 
in my side, and another in my left arm ; and, after that, a 
bullet went through my hair above where it was tied, and 
my clothes were cut in several places. "f Participating in 
this close and hotly-contested action, it is sutlicienUy evident, 
was no child's play to those engaged in it. 

Sevier's column at length gained the summit of the hill, 
driving the enemy's left fiank upon his center. \ But they 
were not subjected to an^^ bayonet charges — save a portion 
of the left, who hastened to the support of Campbell's regi- 
ment, when hard pressed, and became intermingled with 
them. Captain Robert Sevier was mortally wounded 
towards the close of the action, and becoming faint and 
thirsty, was assisted, by his brother, Joseph Sevier, some 
distance to a hollow, where there was a spring of water. 

The last time Campbell and Shelby's men were driven 
down the declivity, the mountaineers learned in some way — 

* MS. correspondence of W. L. Twitty, who .ndds. that the gun that Thomas Robert- 
son used in the liattle. is in the possession of one of his decemlants. 

i" General I, enojr's narrative, in Wheeler's North Carolina, i'l, 107. 
I Onicial report of the Colonels to General Gates, 



perhaps by deceptive sliouting on the part of tlie enemy — 
that Tarleton with his horse had come, which seemed tor tlie 
moment to have a dispiriting etlect ; when the officers, inchid- 
ing Colonel Sevier, rode along the line, calling upon the 
men to halt, assuring them that Tarleton was not there ; and 
if he were, they could also make him, like Ferguson's 
Rangers, turn their backs, and flee up the mountain. This 
time the riflemen pressed upon the enemy widi the utmost 
lirmness and determination. * 

In the beginning of the action. Colonel Campbell's 
famous Biud F'acc, a black horse, proving skittish, he ex- 
changed him with his namesake, a Mr. Campbell, of his 
own corps, for a bay animal ; and Bald Fare was sent to 
the rear, and placed in charge of the Colonel's servant, 
John Broddy, who was a tall, well-proportioned mulatto, 
and in the distance very much resembled his master, f 
Broddy's curiosity prompted him to ride up within t\\o 
hundred yards of the raging batUe, saying " he had come 
to see what his inaster and the rest were doing." \ Broddy, 
with his coat off, and sitting upon Bald Fare, unwittingly 
deceived Colonels Shelby and Sevier, Captain Moses 
Shelby, and perhaps others, into the belief that it was Col- 
onel Campbell himself, intently watching at a respecttul 
distance, Uie progress of the engagement. But Campbell wixs 
all this time in the thickest of the fight, riding his bay 

* Conversations with Colonel G. W. ''eviei, son of Colonel Sevier. 

f Colonel Cleveland was something of a wag. While in camp, en route lor King's 
Mountain, the obese and jolly Cnlonul walked up t" Canipbell's markee, and seeing him 
at the entrance and very much rescmliling liis servant, pretended to mistake him for the 
latter, and accosted him with—" Halloo, Jack, did yon take good caro of my nohle Roe- 
bnck when you feil your master's horse '.'— .Ah ! I ask your pardon. Colonel Caniphcll ; you 
and vour servant look so much alike, led to the mistake!" The joke was received, as it 

was given, in 

the I 

lesc ot goo 

d humor, and was much enjoyed among the officers. 


anecdote was related to the author in i8(i by r.cujamin Starritt, of Fayette County, Tenn., 
who was one of Lee's Legion in the Revolution, and Lee's and Camphv-il's corps fought 
together at the battle of Guilford: and Starritt personally knew Cleveland, and had two 
brothers-in-law under Sevier at King's Mountain. 

X No doubt other 

nf the sons of Africa, beside Broddy, aided in menial occupations 


on the campaign. It is worthy of record, that " there is a tradition in the King's Mo 
tain region,'" says Colonel J. R Logan, " that something more than a do/..-n negroes we 
under arms in the battle, in behalf of liberty, and demeaned themselves bravely." 

I " 






horse till he became exhausted, when he abandoned him, 
and was ihe remainder of the batde at the head of his men, 
on foot, with his coat ofl'and liis sliirt colhir open.* 

>It was durini^ that critical period of the battle, when the 
final rally of the V^irginians had been made, and after Col- 
onel Campbell's horse had given out, that the intrepid chief 
ascended the mountain on foot, several paces in advance of 
...o men ; and, having reached the point of the ridge, he 
climbed over a steep rock, and took a view of the position 
of tho enemy within a ver}- short distance of their lines, and 
discovered that they were retreating from behind the rocky 
rampart they had hitherto occupied with so much security 
to themselves, and injury to the mountaineers, when he 
rejoined his men unharmed, f 

Colonel Williams, who felt offended that his merit — and 
his superior rank, also — had not been recognized by the other 
Colonels, at lirsL re^'used to take part in the battle ;+ but he 
could not, after all, when the pinch came, resist so glorious 
an opportunity to do his country service, and redeem, it 
may be, the errors of the past. Williams wheeled chival- 
rously into line on the left of Shelb}-, exclaiming to his 
followers, " Come on, my boys — the old wag(mer never yet 
backed out." § Though his numbers were few', Williams 

* Statements of Lieutenant Newell ami James Snodgrass. of Campbell's regiment, and 
Thomas Maxwell of Shelby's men, together with the published account f f General John 
Campbell, in the Richmond Etujuirer, June 24. 1823, with the appended letter of "J. C," 
dated Washington County, Virginia, June 13, 1823; corroborated by statements of Ex- 
Governor David Campbell, of Abingdon, Va., to the author. General Campbell asserts in 
his article, that Andrew Evins also declared that Colonel Campbell rode his bay horse in 
the action until he gave out. 

William Moore, Israel Hayter, James Keyes, Benjamin White, William Anderson, of 
Campbell's regiment; Jacob Norris, James Pierce, and Gideon Harrison of Sevier's ; and 
Joseph Pliilli\)S, of Cleveland's, also te<;tify to the fact that it was Colonel Campbell's bay, 
not his t..\Id faced horse that be rode in the action. Much confusion grew out of the 
mistake lh;it it was /.'.i('</ Fare tliat C.impbell rode on the field, and on which bewas suppi'std 
to have retired to a place of safety long before the conclusion of the battle. Sever. d of 
Campbells own men, and those who were nearest to him, an<l bad the best means of 'kuov - 
ing. unite in declaring that ibis is a grievous error Sec. also. Southern Literary Messenger 
September, 1845 ; and Fonte's Sketches of Ki>rth Carolina. 271. 

+ Ensign Robert Campbell's narrative; //o/s/on Intelligencer, October, 1810. 

J MS. letter of Dr. M. A. Moore to Dr. J. H. Logan. 

J Dr. C L. Hunter, in Wheeler's North Carolina, ii, 246, 



had several good and experienced partisan ofllccrs — 
Brandon, Ilanimond, IIa3es, Roebuck and DiUard among 
them ; and their intrepid example had an inspiring eflect 
upon the men under their command. 

Among the " bravest of the brave "who fought imder 
Williams and Brandon, was William Giles, some of whose 
heroic adventures in the Union region in South Carolina, 
have aln^ady been related. The b.tttle-field of King's 
Mountain was a fitting scene for such a fearless spirit. 
During the contest, into which he entered widi his accus- 
tomed zeal, he received a ball through the back of his neck, 
and fell as if dead. William Sharp, his fellow-hero, his neigh- 
bor, his friend and relation, stopped a moment, brushed away 
a tear from his eye, saying — •' Poor fellow, he is dead ; but 
if I am spared a little longer, I will avenge his fall." After 
firing his rifle several times, Sharp, to his astonishment, saw 
Giles raise himself up, rest upon his elbow, and commence 
loading his gun. lie liad got crcasccU as it is said of horses 
when shot through the upper part of the neck, and falling 
helpless to the ground, after a while recover. Giles was soon 
upon his feet again, fought through the batde, and lived to 
a "food old aiie. I lis son of the same name, in after years 
represented both York and Union Counties in the South 
Carolina Legislature.* 

Thomas Young, also under Williams and Brandon, re- 
lates a touching incident. An uncle of his, one McCrarj-, 
was then a prisoner with the British on Edisto Island ; and 
his wife, for fear her husband would be hung, compelled 
her youthful son, Matthew McCrary, to turn out and join 
Ferguson. "Just after we had reached the top of the hill," 
says Young, "Matthew discovered me, and ran from the 
British line, and threw his arms around me for jo\-. I told 
him to get a gun and fight ; he said he could not ; when I 
bade him let me go, that I might fight." Whether young 
McCrary found a gun, and shared in the engagement, we 

1 1 



■ MS. notes of Hon. Daniel Wallace. 


K* <.) 

i I 








ari' not infonnod ; but certain it is, the lad had thrown 
away his 15ritish ride, and the enemy had one less follower 
amon<^ their number. * 

"I wi'll remember," continues Young, "how I behaved. 
Ben llollingsuorth and I took right up the side of the 
mountain, and ibught our way, from tree to tree, up to the 
summit. I recollect 1 stood behind one tree, ami lired 
until the bark was nearly all knocked ufl', and my eyes 
pretty well fdled with it. One fellow slnn'ed me pretty 
close, for his bullet took a piece out of my gun-stock. 
Before I was aware of it, I found myself apparently between 
my own regiment and the enemy, as I judged from seeing 
the paper which the Whigs wore in their hats, and the pine 
twigs the Tories wore in theirs, these being the badges of 

'-On the top of tlie mountain," Mr. Young adds, "in 
the thickest of the fight, I saw Colonel Williams fall, and a 
braver or a better man never died upon the field of battle. 
1 had seen him but once before, that day — it was in the 
beginning of the action, as he charged by me at full speed 
around the mountain. Toward the summit a ball struck 
his horse under the jaw, when he commenced stamping as 
if he were in a nest of yellow jackets. Colonel Williams 
threw the reins over the animal's neck — sprang to the 
ground, and dashed onward. The moment I heard the 
cr}' that Colonel Williams was shot, I ran to his assistance, 
for I loved him as a father, he had ever been so kind to me, 
almost always carr}ing a cake in his pocket for me and his 
litde son, Joseph. They carried him into a tent, and 
sprinkled some water in his face. As he revived, his first 
words were, ' For God's sake, boys, don't give up the hill !' 
I remember it as well as if it had occurred yesterday. I 
left him in the arms of his son Daniel, and returned to die 
field to avenge his fall."f 

'• Sayc's Memoir of Mcjunkiit. 

7 N.irrative of Major Tlionias Voiiiig, drawn up by Col. R.J. Gage, of Union County, 
S. C, and puliiishcd in tlie Orion magazine, Oct. 1843. 





In one of the char^a's on tlie enemy. Major I laniniond, 
of Williams' corps, full of his usual clash and intrepidity, 
broke through the British lines with a small squad of brave 
followers, when the enemy attempted to intercept tlu-ir 
return. Seeinj^ his own and solilit-rs" perilous situation, 
Hammond instantly fact-d about, orderinj,^ his men to join 
him in cutting their way back, which, by dint of the most 
heroic eilbrts, they successfully cflected. * 

A singular incident occurred, which Major Hammond 
used to relate in connection with the contest. One of the 
men in his conunand had fought in many a battle, and had 
always proved himself true as steel. On the night preced- 
ing the action — in some snatch of sleep, perhaps, while on 
the march — he had a presentiment, that if he took part in 
the impending battle he would be killed. Before reaching 
King's Mountain, he concluded that he would, for once in 
his life, be justiliable, uiuler the circumstances, in skulk- 
ing from danger, and thereby, as he believed, preserve his 
life for futiux' usefulness to his country. So he stole oil', 
and hid himself. lie was missed, when an orderly wi'Ut 
in search of him, and fmally discovered him in an out-of- 
the-way place, all covered up, head and body, with his 
blanket. Though taken to the front, he soon found means 
to absent himself again ; but his lurking place was again 
found, and he once more hurried to the front, just before 
the iinal attack. He evidently now made up his mind to 
do his duty, and let consequences take care of themselves ; 
and during the aclion he had posted himself behiml a stump 
or tree, and evidently peering liis head out to get a shot, 
received a fatal bullet in his forehead, killing him instantly. 
Subsequently learning the cause of his singular conduct in 
endeavoring to evade taking part in the contest. Major Ham- 
mond regretted that he had not known it at the time, so that 
he could have respected the soldier's conscientious cf)nvic- 

* Olnliiary notice of Col. Samuel Hammoml, Soptcmher. 1842. written liy his son-in- 
law, James II. R. Washington, corroborated by Mrs. Washington to the author, as related 
to her by her father. 




I •' 

tions ; but, at the moniiMit, suspiMiing tliat lie was undor the 
cowardly iiiniu'nctM)r iVar, tlu' Major could iiol, and would 
not, tok'rati> anyUiing oflhokind in liis comtnaiul.* 

And thus ihc battle wa^'i-d with alternate advances and 
repulses, tbe columns of Campbell and Shelb}' having been 
two or three times driven down the mountain at the point 
of the bayonet — the last one almost a rout ; but the brave 
niountaini'ers had learned from experience when to stop in 
their retri-at, face about, and pusli back their assailants. 
In this last desperate repulse, some of the Whig rillemen 
were transfixed, while others fell head-long over the cHft's.f 
When one colunm would dri\e the enemy back to their 
starting place, the next regiment would raise the battle-cry 
— " Come on, men, the enemy are retreating ;" and wlien 
the Provincials anil Loyalists would make a dash upon this 
party of mountain men, anil would, in turn, be chased 
back by them, then the other Whig riflemen, who had just 
before been driven down the hill, would now advance, return- 
ing die shout — " Come on, men, theenemv are retreating I" t 
Thus, as one of Campbell's men expressed it — " When the 
enemy turned, we turned." § " Three times," says Mills' 
Sliii/'sl/rs, "did the Britons charge with bayonet down the 
hill ; as otten did the Americans retreat ; and the moment 
the Britons turned then* backs, the Americans shot from 
behind every tree, and every rock, and laid them prostrate." 
It was the happy fruition of Shelb3''s perpetual batde cry — 
" Never shoot until you see an enemy, and never see an 
enemy, witliout bringing him down."|| 

By this time the two wings of the mountaineers were 
pressing the enemy on boUi sides of the mountain, so that 
Ferguson's men had ample employment all around the emi- 

* Dr. A. I.. Hammonirs sketch of King's Mountain hattlc, in Charleston Courier, 
June 21. 1859. 

f Hamilton's Republic of tlie United States, ii, 161. 

\ Ocneral GralKini's narrative. 

^ James Crow's statement. 

II ^Wk.^' Xational Register, iv, 403. 

m 'I 




nenco, without bcin^ able to repair to i-acli otlu'i's n-licf, 
however much they noetU-d it. At li'iii,'lh the Pi()\iucial 
Rau<fers aud their fellow ehar<rers, led bv the iutrepid De- 
Peysler, be^an to t^row weary aud discoura^i'd- steadily 
decreasing' in numbers, aud making no pernuiueul inroads 
upon tluMr tireless opposers, who, when beaten down the 
mountain, did not choose to stay there simply to oblige 
their enemies. From the south-western portion of the 
ridge, the Rangers and Tories began to give way, and were 
doggedly driven by Campbell and Shelby, aided bv some of 
Sevier's men, and perhaps otiiers, intermingled with tliem. 

Near the close of the action, Lieutenant-Colonel 1 lam- 
bright, while encouraging his men, received a shot through 
his thigh, making an ugly wound — the ball passing between 
the thigh bone and his saddle, cutting some arteries, and 
filling his boot with blood. Discovering that the Colonel 
was wounded, Samuel Moore, of York County, South Caro- 
lina, proposed to assist him trom his horse, which he declined, 
assigning as a reason, that it would distract tlie attention of 
his men, and, as he did not feel sick nor faint, he preferred 
to remain with them as long as he could sustain himself in 
the saddle. Then pressing forward, he exclaimed in his 
broken German: " Huzza, my prave poys, fight on a few 
minutes more, and te battle will be over!" Hearing this 
encouraging shout, Ferguson, it is said, responded : ''Huzza, 
brave boys, the day is our own !" * It was among the last 
of the British leader's utterances to animate his men in a 
hopeless struggle. 

Dr. Ramsay, in his History of Tennessee, asserts that the 
Tories had begun to show flags in token of surrender, even 
before Ferguson was disabled, seeing which, he rode up, in 
two instances, and cut them down with his sword. It was 

'■'MS correspondence of the venerable Abraham Hiirdin. who knew Colonel Ham- 
bright, and of Gill. Hambright, his descendant. Colonel Hambright, during the ..ction. 
had his hat perforated with three bullet holes, and this memorial of the battle was long 
retained in the family. Though his wound was a serious one, he soon recovered ; but as 
some of the sinews of his thigh were cut, he ever aft>jr bad a halt in his walk. 








suLTiiestcd to him h\ some of liis otlicers, tliat it was useless 
to prolon;^ the contest, and throw their Hves away. The 
slaujjjhter was great, the wounded were numerous, and 
furtlu'r resistance would be unavailin<j^. But Fert^nison's 
proud heart could not think ot' surrenilering : lie despised 
his enemies, and swore " he never would yield to such a 
d — d banditti." Captain DePeyster. his second in com- 
mand, havint^ the courage ot" his convictions, and •• con- 
vinced tVom the lirst of the utter tutility of resistance at the 
point selected, ad\ised a surrender, as soon as he became 
satistied that Ferguson would not fall back upon the (sup- 
posed) rapidly advancing relief. He appears to have urged 
the only course which could have saved the little army, 
viz: a ]"irecipitate, but orderly. retre;it upon less exposed 
points, lor the purpose of assisting the General-in- 
Chief in his attempt to re-inforce the detaclinuMit — so im- 
portant to future and ultimate success — bv drawing back, 
nearer to some point, which alone, re-intbrcements could 
reach, and where, alone, they could be made a\ailable. 
This ad\ice was fornded on what the event proved : that 
the British were about to be slaughtered to no purpose, like 
' ducks in a coop,' without inflicting any commensurate loss. 
The event proved the justice of this counsel." * 

At le.igth, satisfied that all was lost, and firmly resolving 
not to tall into the hands of the despised "Back-Water men," 
Ferguson, with a few chosen friends, made a desperate at- 
tempt to break through the Whig lines, on the south-east- 
ern side of the mountain, and escape. The intrepid Tiritish 
leader nuule a bold dash for life and freedom, with his sword 
in his lef't hand, cutting and slashing till he had broken it. 
Colonel Shelby mentions the sword incident, and Benjamin 
Sharp corroborates it ; while several others unite in testil\- 
ing to the tact that he spin'red his horse, and rushed out, 
attempting to escape, f liefore the action commenced, it 

'■Gen. Dcl'eyster, in Historical Magazine. M;irch. 1869, 105, 

f Shelby's narrative \\\ American Review; Slielliy. as cited in Haywood's Tenitessee, 
71; Sharp's statenicnt in American /'ioncer, February, 1843: MS. account of King's 



was well known lluit Ferguson wielded his sword in his lell 
hand, and that he wore a light or checked duster or hunt- 
ing-shirt for an outer garment, and the admonition had 
gone from soldier to soldier — " Look out for Ferguson with 
his sword in his left hand, wearing a light lumiing-shirt !"' * 

One of Sevier's men, named Gilleland, who had receivinl 
several wounds, and was well-nigh exhausted, seeing 
the advance of Ferguson and his party, attempted to arrest 
the career of the great leader, but his gun snapped; wIumi 
he called out to Robert Young, of the same regiment — 
"There's Ferguson — shoot him !" f " I'll try and see what 
Sweet-Lips can do," muttered Young, as he drew a sharp 
sight, discharging his rille, when Ferguson fell from his 
horse, and his associates were either killed or driven back. 
Several rille bullets had taken elTect on Ferguson, appar- 
ently about the same time, and a number claimed the 
honor of having shot the fallen chief- — among them, one 
Kusick, another of Sevier's sharp-shooters. \ Certain it is. 
that Ferguson reci ived six or eight wounds, one of them 
through the head. He was unconscious when he fell, and 
did not long survive. It was in the region of Se/ier's col- 
nmn that he recei\i'd his fatal shots: and not \ery far, it 
would seem, from where Colonel Shelb}' had posted Ensign 
Robert Campbell to watch the motions of the enemy so 
strongly ensconced behind the range of rocks. 

Ensign Campbell gives us some further insight into 
Ferguson's attempt at flight. It was, as he represents, when 

Mountain liy an unknown member of Camiibcll's corps ; Hon. Wm. C. Preston's Defence 
of Colonel Campbell, \iii\ ^'S. correspondence of Kx-Governor David Campbell, anil Ur, 
A. Q, Uradley; conversations with Colonel Thomas H. Shelby. Mills, in his Sintistics of 
South Caioiina, asserts th,ax "Ferguson attempted to force his way : " and Wheeler's 
Xorlh Carolir.i declares that " he made a desperate move to break through the .\mericnii 
lines," The "oh'ticul Magazi'ie, for February, i73i, states while " advancing tn reconnoitr. 
the enemy, vho were retiring, he fell by a random shot." 

* Statements of James and Oeor^e W. Sevier ; Silas Mcllee, Colonel George Wilson 
Colonel Thomas II. Shelby, and others Mrs. F.llet, in her If'omeii of thr Kir'nluiron. 
iii, 293. speaks of the check-shirt disguise. 

tOillel.ind recovered from his wounds, ami lived many years. 

J Conversations with James and George W. Sevier, ai,d Colonel George Wilson; and 
MS. correspondence of Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey. 

!• * 



!i V 







i i 

:«:! I 

Colonels Campbell and Shelby were pressing the enemy 
from the south-western extremity of the mountain, and Fer- 
guson's men were tailing fast on every hand. He had sent 
DePevster with the Provincial Rangers to strengthen the 
front : and in reaching the point assigned him, he had to 
pass through a blaze of riflery, losing many of his men in 
the ertbrt. Ferguson's small cavalry corps, under Lieuten- 
ant Taylor — consisting of twenty men, made up from his 
Rangers — were ordered to mount, and press forward to aid 
Del^e3stcr in his heroic purpose ; but as fast as they mount- 
ed, they were mostly picked oiV by the Whig marksmen. 
nri\en to desperation, Ferguson endeavored to make 
his escape, accompanied by two Loyalist Colonels, all 
mounted, who charged on that part of the line which 
they thought was most vulnerable — " in the quarter where 
Sevier's men were," as related by James Sevier, one of 
their number, and Benjamin Starritt, derived iVom his two 
brotlKi-s-in-law, who served in Sevier's regiment ; and, as 
Ensign Campbell stated, " on that part of the line defended 
by his party." As soon as Ferguson reached the Whig 
front, he fell : and the other two olTicers, attempting to 
retreat, soon shared the same fate. One of these Tory 
otlicers killed was, doubtless. Colonel Vezev Husband, and 
the other — not a Colonel, as Ensign Campbell supposed — • 
but Major Daniel Plummer. 

Some accounts represent that Colonel Williams sought 
a personal encounter with Ferguson, determined to kill him, 
or die in the attempt. This is more romantic than prob- 
able. It could hardly have been so, since Ferguson was 
shot some distance from where Williams must have received 
his wounds, and on the opposite side of the hill ; and the 
accounts pretty well agree, that Williams was wounded at 
the very close of the conflict, when the enemy had begun 
to exhibit their white flaffs, * while Fermison was shot from 

* Mills, in his Statistics of South Carolina, strile>i. that Colonel Williams "hail the 
good fortune to encounter personally in battle Colonel Ferguson, who attempted to force 

iii .1 



his horse some little time before. Tlie suggestion made by 
Colonel Hill, in his manusriipt narrative, that Colonel 
Williams was shot b}' some of Lacey's men, who were in- 
imical to him, and had sworn to take his life, is hardly 
credible ; and, for the honor of humanity, we are con- 
strained to discard so improbable and unpatriotic a supposi- 

The last desperate grapple between CampbelTs men — 
assisted by Shelby's — and the enemy, just before the close 
of the engagement, lasted twenty minutes* — and witiiin 

his way at this point. Tliey both fell on the spot, being shot, it was supposeil, by a ball 
from t! t Uritish side— it was the last gun fired." 

Dr. Ramsay, the Tennessee historian, asserts that Colonel Williams ' fell a victim to 
the true Palmetto spirit, and intemperate eagerness for battle. Toward the close of the 
engagement, he espied Ferguson riding the line, and dashed toward him with the 
gallant determination of a person.d encoii.iter. ' I will l<ill FerLjuson, or die in tlie attempt!' 
exclaimed Wdliams; and spurring his horse in the direction of the enemy, received a bul- 
let as he crossed their line. He survived till he heard that his aiit.agonist killed, and 
his camp surrendered ; and amidst the shouts of victory by his triumphant countrymen, 
said : ' 1 die contented ;' and with a smile on his cninteuance. expired." 

The late Dr. A. L. Hammond, son of M.ajor Hamnioiul. in an article on King's Moun- 
t.iin battle, in the Charleston Courier, June 21, 1859. stated that " Williams' horse, wound- 
ed and snorting with foam and blood at every bound, dashed forward. Ferguson turned 
to receive him ; their swords crossed — nothing more, for at that instant a deadly volley 
came from both sides, and the two combatants fell mortally wounded." 

Ensign Robert Campbell states, that " Colonel Willi, urfc was shot lhro,;gh the body, 
near the close of tiic action, in making an attempt to ch irge on Ferguson; he lived long 
enough to hear of the surrender of the liritish army, when he said: 1 die contented, 
since we have gained the victory." " 

Dr. John H. Logan, the historian of the I'fi-Ccmntry p/ South Carolina, has preserved 
.imong the MS. traditions he gathered many years ago. this account of Colonel Williams 
death: Williams and Ferguson fell nt'rlyatthe same time, on the eastern side of the 
mountain. Williams, from a more favorable position than those occupied by Campbell 
and Hambright. saw the magic influence of Ferguson s whistle Dashing to the front, his 
horse throwing bloody foam from his mouth that had been struck by a lull, he was heaid 
to exclaim — " I'll silence that whistle or die in the attempt!" Quickly Ferguson was no 
more; and soon after, a ball from the enemy laid Williams mortally wounded on the hill- 

Still more romantic is Simms' statement in his History of South Carolina: " Tradition 
reports that Williams and Fer:,'Uson perished by each other's hands ; that, after Ferguson 
had fallen by the pistol of Williams, and l.iy wounded on the ground the latter approached 
and offered him mercy ; and that his answer was a fatal bullet from tlie pistol of the dying 


Much more prol>able is the statement of Dr, John Whelchel, of Willian 


In hi 

s pension 


doubtless an eye-witness, and a man of much intelligen 

states that Colonel Williams received his fatal shot " immeiliately after the enemy had 

hoisted a flag to surrender." Lieutenant Joseph Hughes, of Hrandon's men, makes a 

similar statement The narrative of Thomas Young already cited, also tends to divest 


cs? romances of any claim 

to historic probability. 

'■'"A I'lritish surgeon," says Lieutenant Newell, referring, doubtless, to Dr. Johnson, 
'stated that he held his watch, and that the storm lasted twenty minutes. " 



thirty or Vort}- \:ir(ls of each other ; and was the most hotly 
contested part of the action. Campbell was on foot at the 
heail of his rejriment — so much advanced in front as to be 
in danger from the fu'e of his own men ; and his courageous 
words wore — " Boys, remember 30ur liberty ! Come on I 
come on ! my brave fellows ; another gun — another gun will 
do it! D — m them, we must have them out of this!"* It 
was on' incessant peal of hre-arms. The enemy made a 
firm stand ; but after a while they were forced to retire some 
distance along tlio crest of the mountain, towards their camp 
at tlie north-eastern extremity, wiien ihev hailed airain for a 
few moments. The brave men of Campbell and Shelby 
were sensibly aided by the heroic bravery of the left wing- 
under Cleveland, Lace}^ and Williams, who pressed, with 
shouts of victory, upon the Tories in that quarter, which 
tended to re-animate the Virginians and the Sullivan troops, 
who, with re-doubled fury, fought like tigers. They drove 
Ferguson's surviving Rangers and the Tories before them to 
where their wagons were, behind which they made a rally ; 
but they were soon driven from this covert, down into a 
sunken or hollow place, by which time the Rangers were 
mostly killed or disabled, and the Loyalists quite de- 
moralized, f 

Campbell's column was two or three times driven down, 
or partly down the mountain ; Shelby says he was three 
times repulsed — and Doctor Ferguson, in his Memoir of 
his kinsman. Colonel Ferguson, declares that the Provin- 
cials, with their bayonets " repulsed the enemy in three 
several attacks." One part of Cleveland's line was charged 
once in the flank, and another portion was twice driven 
before the ^-yonet ; while Chronicle and Ilambright's 
Lincoln men were once, at least, forced down the hill. Mc- 
Dowell's corps received a bayonet charge, as Thomas Ken- 

Newell's and Sharp's statements, 
f Statements of Lieutenant Newell, James Crow, and Henry Dickenson, of Campbell's 






i ,■ 




















^^^\y, one of the C-.Mf • "" ^^^ 

'"'■•"Srlhe action, „„,. „„/'•,■' "T"' "'^''^ "" charged 
tLcs,. bayonet charg,s. ' '^°''"'>"» '"liored from 

can., ,i;;" ";;;/;;;;™^^^^^^ 

«-t.";l,e termination ^ttoirr,'" ■"'•-■ '■'=—' "--i,. 
<^liari;c.d their Htles, ,|,„. ,.,..'" i""?""; and l,avi„ , ,,,■.,. 

«."" ; i>.n ^vhile ,)K.v were tin T'^'f ■"»'™«ions „rFer..n 
«gh.ed rifle„,en bel , , ^ ^''T' ""■""«• "- ■^'>a°l - 
*™ off at every n,o„,e ' Lo, !^ "«""^- -•™. would pij, 
"? *.smen in a valley have dr*", '""■'""^'■' P'-'^es, that 
""."..(irinyat each V '„.'■''"';'»'•-' '"' "«>»'-■ <>" a 
terrestrial relVacdon. • TheV ,'" 1"-"''"W3- oh in., to the 

°f "-<■-.. often .ho*ot t» .tht ""'r: '""'■"'■ ^•«"■■- 
f"^™' Be this a., it „av, the E „ '"", "■^■"- "''Jeet .» bel„„ 
eads of the American, u,H^ ''"" "'"■^"«' «er the 
;■■«"«■ t»igs, while thebtd ' t ,n,;"""= ""■ "■-•» »■' eut! 
*ea<l,ul etrect-the Bridsh wl " "'.""""""-■«■» Pro.luced 
;'"-, 'l.a. of their anta™,rtr I '■"""« '""''' "-^"h' Area 
«.aul,e North Caroli„a°Le ah-.t!"'''''- "■''"' •^"^'"'^ ^""es 
^"■^"..ded, and numbers bete / S^""' ""' "-T were 
'he first to give way, wln-ci, , f„ '""^ ^""-unition, were 
Tones ,nto confnsi'on.,. Th l' "'"' ""■' '•''■»' "I" the 

he ofliciaJ report of Cam,,b 1 '-I ""'-' ^"-''' «°. »"d yet 
"-; 'ha. the greater prTf ""„''" •'■""'-•'•••"- "e aC 
render >vere still charged ""^^ *"""» at the sur. 

_^!i^ "enry, of Hambrigbfs and Ch ■ , ■ 

• So James Sevier anH Q-, ,, "'*-'<- S paitv, 

author. '^ ^''''■'' '^'"^nee, of those re • 

,,. •^Con,.„n,-„,,, ,,,,, '""'="''• -^"-'^""y -aeed to the 

ft Allaire's Mt; n' 



f : 



who had been traiislixed by a Tory bayonet, was making 
his way at the very close of tlie engagement to Chirke's 
Brancli to quench his thirst, he unexpectedly met Colonel 
Graham on his largt' black steed, accompanied by Uavid 
Dicke}', who, wieliling his swt)rd around his head, exclaimed 
— "D — m the Tories I" * He had heard the Uriiiir while 
on his way to his sick wi»c, and could not resist the impulse 
to return, and share in the battle, \ Just before the linal 
surrender of the enemy, when there was much intermingling 
of the mountaineers, Colonel Shelby had the hair on 
the left side of his head scorched otV, which was noticed by 
Colonel Sevier, who met him at this moment — so narrowly 
did the heroic Shelby escape losing his life by Tory bullets.* 
With their men forced into a huddle near their tents and 
wagons, the surviving British oOicers could not form half a 
dozen of them together ; and the denn)ralized Tories were 
being shot down like sheep at the slaughter. 

The fall of Ferguson is represented b}' Lieutenant 
Allaire as having occurred "early in the action;" and 
Captain RN'erson, another of his corps officers, onl}- states 
that DePevster, after the loss of Ferguson, maintainei^ his 
ground as long as it was possible to defend it. Ta eton 
states, that when Ferguson was shot, after nearly an home's 
fighting, '* his whole corps was thrown into total confusion ; 
no efibrt was made after this event, to resist the enemy's 
barbarit}-, or revenge the fall of their leader." In the 
Memoir of General Sanmel Graham, a Captain under 
Lord Cornwallis — a work prepared from the General's 
manuscripts — it is stated, that after the fall of Ferguson, 
and many of his men, " the remainder, alter a short resist- 
ance, were overpowered, and compelled to surrender." A 

* Robert Henry's MS. narrative, appended to the statements of Vance and McDowell. 

T Tiiat night. Colonel Oraham's only child. Sarah, was horn, who, when she grew to 
womanhood, bei ame the wife of Abram Irvine, who was several years Sheriff of Ruther- 
ford County. The venerable Dr. O. R. Irvine, of Cireenville, S. C, is one of several 
children of this marriatje. 

J Shelby s letter, August 12, and Colonel John Sevier s, August 27, 1813, 

I'll "'It 



writer in the London Political Ma!>(izinc, for February, 
1 78 1, asserts that when Ferguson fell, Captain DePeyster, 
the next in command, " immediately hoisted the while flag 
— that is, his white handkerchief; an odlcer clore by him, 
enraged at such timidity, made a stroke at him with his 
sabre, and almost cut olV his hand ; nevertheless the surren- 
der went on," 

Allaire and Rycrson, his fellow officers, not only acquit 
DePeyster of the charge of timidity, but declare that his 
conduct was, in all "respects, proper;" and Captain 
R3'erson adds, that he "behaved like a brave good oflicer.'' 
Of course, the hand-cutting incident had no foundation. 
Ramsay, the South Carolina historian, siatcs that "no 
chance of escape being lef't, and all prospect of successful 
resistance being at an end, the second in command sued for 
quarter." Gordon, in his History, and Mackenzie, in his 
Strictures, adopt this view of the matter: And Ensign 
Robert Campbell, of the Virginia regiment observes, that as 
soon as Ferguson tell, " Captain DePeyster raised a flag, 
and called tor quarters ; it was soon taken out of his hand 
by one of the officers on horseback, and raised so high that 
it could be seen by our line." 

But there were other white flags or emblems displayed 
bv the enemv, either with or without the sanction of De- 
Peyster. A man was mounted on horseback with a white 
handkerchief as a token of submission ; but he was quickly 
shot down bv the half-crazed Bovven, as alreadv related; 
when another was mounted on the same horse, and set 
out for the displa}' of the emblem of surrender, who soon 
shared the same iate, but a third met with better success — 
Major Evan Shelb}' received it, and, with others, pro- 
claimed the surrender. By this time white handkerchiefs 
were also displayed in various quarters on guns and ram- 
rods. " Our men," says Shelb}-, " who had been scattered 
in the battle, were continually C(^ming up, and continued to 
tire, without comprehending, in the heat of the moment, 


I v\i 

1 ""^ 


I? ;:■ 





what hail happened." Many of the ^oungmen, it was said 
for their apology, knew not the meaning of a white llag 
under such circumstances ; while others had heconie embit- 
tered, and were crying out — *^Give them Buford's play !"* — 
nocjuarters, as Tarleton had, the preceding May, so savagely 
treated Colonel Buford and his party. "When the 
British," says Mills' Slatistics of South C'arol/iici, " found 
themselves pressed on all sides, they hung out white hand- 
kerchiefs upon guns and halberds. Few of the Americans 
understood the signal, and the few that did, chose not to 
know what it meant; so that, even after submission, the 
slaughter continued, until the Americans were weary of 
killing." This is a sad confession, but impartial truth de- 
mands that the record be faithful, though, in this case, there 
is reason to believe that the latter part of Mills' statement is 
somewliat exaggerated. 

Among those still engaged in this work of death was 
young Joseph Sevier, who had heard that his father. Col- 
onel Sevier, had been killed in the action — a false report, 
originating, probably, from the fact of the Coloners brother, 
Captain Robert Sevier, having been fatally wounded ; and 
the young soldier kept up firing upon the huddled Tories, 
until admonished to cease, when he excitedly cried out, 
with the tears chasing each other doun his cheeks — " The 
d — d rascals have killed my father, and I'll keep loading 
and shooting till I kill every son of a b — h of them." Col- 
onel Sevier now riding up, his son discovered the mistake 
under which he had labored, and desisted, f 

But the Whig leaders were active in their efforts to put 
a stop to the further firing of the patriots. The subdued 
Tories were everywhere cr\ing " quarters !" — " quarters !" 
" D — m you," exclaimed Shelby, " if you want quarters, 
throw down your arms !" J Benjamin Sharp, of Camp- 

'•'" Shelby's narrative, 1823 ; General Graham's statement ; certificate of John Long, of 
Shelby's men. 

f Statement of Colonel George W. Sevier. 

J Certificate of John Sharp, of Shelby's regiment, 1823, 



bell's regiment, who witncssL'il this scene, thus describes it: 
" At the close of the action, when the British were loudly 
callin<^ for quarters, but uncertain whether they would bo 
granted, I saw the intrepid Shelby rush his horse within 
fifteen paces of tiieir lines, and command them to lay down 
tinMr arms, and they should have quarters. Some would 
cull this an imprudent act ; but it showed the daring bravery 
of the man." * 

Andrew Evins. a member of Captain William Edmond- 
son's company, of the Virginia regiment, was, with others, 
still firing on the demoralized Tories, when Colonel Camp- 
bell came running up, and knocked up the soldier's gun, 
exclaiming — *' Evins, for God's sake, don't shoot! It is 
murder to kill them now, for they have raised the flag!"t 
Campbell, as he rushed along, repeated the order — "Cease 
firing ! — for God's sake, cease firing V'\ Thus was Colonel 
Camiihell mercit'ullv engrailed in savin;; the discomfited 
Loyalists fVom further eflusion of blooil — no ofiicer could 
have acted more tender or humane ; and he passed on 
around tlu' prisoners, on foot, still seeking to promote their 
safety and protection. 

Captain DePeyster, who had succeeded Ferguson in 
the command, sitting on his grey horse, expostulated witii 
Colonel Campbell, referring to the firing on hisfiag — "Col- 
onel Campbell, it was d — d unfair," and then repeated it ; 
but Campl^ell, probably thinking it no time to band}' words 
with the British leader, simply ordered him to dismount ; 
and called out, "officers, rank by yourselves; prisoners, 
take ofT your hats, and sit down." § The enemy at this 
time had been driven into a group of sixty vards in length, 
and less than fort\' in width. || The mountaineers were 
ordered to close up in surrounding the prisoners, first 

* American Pioneer, February, 1843, 69. 

•j- Evins' stalciiicnt, 1813. 

t Letter of Oeiieral George Rutledge, May 27th, 1813, 

\ James Crow's statement, May 6, 1813. 

[ General Graham's narrative. 




\- 1 


A i! 



in one continiunis circle, then double <,aiards, and finally 
four deep. * "Colonel Campbell then proposed to his troops 
three liuz"as for JJhcrly, which were ;;iven in heartv 
ucclaitn, inakin<^ the welkin ring, and the hills resound, with 
their shouts of victory, f 

An occurrence now transpired, that, for a few moments, 
changed the whole scene in that quarter ; and threatened, 
for a brief period, the most tragic conse([uences. It is 
known, as a Ihilish account relates it, that '* a small party 
of the Loyal militia returning from foraging, unac(juainted 
with the surrender, happening to Hre on the Rebels, the 
prisoners were immediately threatened with death, if the 
firing should be repeated." J Whether it was the vollev 
from this party, who probably scampered oil"; or whether 
from some of tiie Tories in the general huddle, exasperated 
perhaps that proper respect was not instantly paid to their 
flag, now iired upon, and mortally wounded Colonel Wil- 
liams, who was riding toward^ the British encampment ; 
and, wheeling back, said to William Moore, one of Camp- 
bell's regiment — ** I'm a gone man !" ^ 

Colonel Campbell was close at hand when this un- 
happy event transpired ; and doubtless reasoned, that if the 
fatal llring proceeded from an outside part}', it was the pre- 
cursor of Tarleton's expected relief ; if from the surrendered 
Tories, at least some considerable portion of tiiem were in- 
clined to spring a trap on the Whigs, shoot down their leaders, 
and make a bold attempt to escape, when the patriots were 
measurably otf their guard, and least prepared for it ; and 
acting on the spur of the moment, he resolved on stern 

the intended mutiny, bv ins 



* Captain ChrUtopher Taylor's statement : conversations witli John Spelts. 

V Statements tA John Craig ; MS. narrative of Rohert Henry. 

I South Carolina Gazette, Deccniher =o. 1780; am! Scot's Mas;azi>!e, January, :7Si. 
The editor of the Cazttle evidently derived his statement from Lieutenant All.iiie, of Fer- 
guson's Rangers, judging from a comparison ttf the details there given, with a more elabor- 
ate narrative in Rivington's Royal Gazette, New York, Fchruary 04. 1781, which General 
J. Watts DePtyster attributes, from internal evidence, to that olTicer, and which Lieutenant 
Allaire's MS. Diary fully corroborates. 

J Statement of William Moore. 



orderiP''' the men near him — the men of Williams ..lul 
Hrandon's command — to fire upon the enemy. The oihUt 
was ([uiekly ()he\ ed hy the soldiers who had been so 
treaeheroiisly di'prived of their intrepid leader ; " and," said 
Lieutenant Joseph Ilu^dies, one of Brandon's party, "we 
killed near a liuiulred of them." Hut the probaliililies are, 
that tliose who fired, and those who .suflered from it, were 
not very numerous. It was, however, a sad afVair : and in 
the confusion of the niomi:nt, its origin and its immediate 
cfte''ts were prol)abI}- little understood hy either party ; and 
doubtless Colonel Campbell himself deeply regri-tted the 
order he had given to hre upon an unresisting foe. * 

* These particulars may l)C some wliat erroneous and exaggerated; but there m\\.s\. he 
a basis of truth in ihem. It is due tu the high reputation tliat Colonel Hughes sustained in 
liis day, to aecord candor and good intentions to his statements generally. In his pension 
application, in 1833, he briefly slates: " Was at King's Mountai!), where General Willi.ims 
was mortally wounded, after the liritish had raised their il.ig to 5urreiidtr. by a fire from 
some Tories. Colonel Campbell then ordered a fire on the lories, and we killed near a 
hundred of them alter the surrender of the liritish, and could hardly be restrained from 
killing the wiiolo of them." 

That Colonel Hughes' statements are worthy of respect, a brief reference to son^e of 
the more salient points of his lUvohitionary services, and the good character he bore during 
the war, and for more than half a century thereafter, are only necessary tti be cited. He 
was born in what is now Chester County. South Carolina, in 1761, his parents having 
retired thee tei.'porarily from the present region of Union County, on account of Indian 
troubles. He served, in 1776, on Williamsons Cherokee expedition, and .subsequently in 
Georgia, Cover lor Rutledge, early in 1780. commissioned him a Lieutenant, and he fouj:ht 
under Sumter at I'.ocky Mount and Hanging Rock; and then shared in the heroic action at 
Musgrove's Mill. His dare devil character, and adventurous scrv'cc . in the up-country 
region of South Carolina, during the summer and autumn of 1780, have already been related. 
In f:ne of these Tory encounters, Hughes had a lock of hair cut from his head, C.i|'tain 
Samuel Otlerson a slight wound on his chin, while a third person received a cut acn^ss his 
cheek — all from the same shot. 

Then we find him taking part, in the memorable ergagements at King's Mount. lin, 
Hammond's Store and Cowpens. Though yet a Lieutenant, he commanded his company 
in this latter action. He was not only a man of great personal strength, hut of remarliable 
fleetness on foot. As his men, with others, broke at the Cowpens, ami fled before Tarleton's 
cavalry; and though receiving a sahre cut across hi'; right hand, yet with his drawn 
sword, he would out-run his men, and passing them, lai:e about, and command them to 
stand, striking right and left to enforce obedience to orders; often repeating with a loud 
voice: '■ You d— d cowards, halt and fight— there is more d.ingcr in running than in fight- 
ing, and if you don't step and fight, you will all be killed !" But most of them were for 
awhile too demoralized to realize the situation, or obey the commands of their olTuers. As 
they would scamper ofif. Hughes would renewedly pursue, and once more gaining their 
front, would repeat his tactics to bring them to their duty. At length the company was 
induced to make a stand, on the brow of a slope, some distance from the b,Tttle-Iine. be- 
hind a clump of young pines that partially concealed and protected them from Tarleton's 
cavalry. Others now joined them for self-protection. Their guns were quickly loaded, 





I i 




The firing upon tho British and Tories was at length 
suppressed. Colonel Shelby, fearing that the enemy might 
yet, perhaps, feel constrained, in vself-defence, to resume 
their arms, and which they could with such facilit}- snatch 
up as they lay before them, exclaimed : '' Good God ! what 
can we do in this confusion ? " " We can order the prison- 
ers from their arms " said Captain Sawyers. " Yes," re- 
sponded Shelby, "that can be done "" ; and the prisoners 
were accordingly forthwith marched to another place, with 
a strong guard I'laced around them. * 

The surviving British leaders were prompt to surrender 
their swords to the lirst American oilicer that cami" near 
them. Ferguson's sword was picked up on the ground ; 
and, according to one account, it passed into Colonel 
Cleveland's possession ; but with more probability, accord- 
ing to odiers, it fell into the hands of Colonel Sevier. Cap- 
tain DePeyster delivered his sword, as some assert, to 
Colonel Campbell ; while others declare it was to Major 
Evan Shelby. Captain Ryerson, who was wounded, ten- 
dered his sword to Lieutenant Andrew Kincannon, of 

and they were tliemselvos again. Morgan gallopetl up and spoke words of encourage- 
ment to them. The next moment the I'rilish cavalry were at them ; but the Whigs re- 
served their fire till the enemy were so near^ that it was tcrril)ly effectivo, enii>tying m.uiy 
a British saddle, when the survivors recoiled. Now Colonel Washington gave them a 
charge — the b.ittle was restored, when Howard and his Marylanders with the bayonet 
swept thr ,"ield. Such is the account related by Christopher Ilrandon to Uaiiicl Wallace. 
Tarleton acknowledges, that '' an une.xpected fire from the Americans, who came about as 
the\' were retre.uing. stopped the Piritish, anil threw them into confusion," when a panic 
ensued, antl ilicii a general fli:;ht. It was a hi(;h and wnithy compliment from bis old 
commander. Colonel Hrandon, who declared, that, at the Cowpens, " Hughes suved the 
/ate of the day." 

As a deserved recognition of these meritorious ser\ices, ho was promoted to a Cap- 
taincy early in 1781. when he was scarcely twenty years of age ; and led his company with 
characteristic valor, at the battle of Kntaw Springs. The Tories had killed his father 
during the war, and many a dear friend, and his animosity against the whole race was 
alike bitter and unrelenting, In 1S25, he removed to Alabama, first to Green County, and 
then to Pickens, where he died, in September, 1834, in his seventy-fourth year. For more 
than twenty of the closing years of his life, he was an elder in the Presbyterian church ; 
and the rough, and almost tii^cr-like partisan, became as humble and submissive as :i Iamb, 
He rose to the rank of Colonel in the militia. He was tall and romni.'\n*ling in his appe:ir:ince, 
jovial and affable in conversation ; yet his early military training rendered him, to the last, 
stern and riL;id in discipline. In all that makes up the man, he was a noble specimen if ibi: 
Revolutionary hero. 

'■'Ramsey's Tennessee, 239; MS. correspondence of Dr. Ramsey. 




Campbell's regiment, who was, at that moment, endeavor- 
ing to check the tiring on the surre.idered Tories ; but not 
regarding himself as the proper officer to receive this ten- 
der ot" submission, the Lieutenant, without due reflection, 
courteously invited the British Captain to be seated ; who 
looking around, and seeing no seat, promptly squatted 
himself upon the ground, Kincannon entering into conver- 
sation with him. Adjutant Franklin, of Cleveland's regi- 
ment, now coming up, received Ryerson's sword, the latter 
remarking: '"You deserve it, sir!"* Colonel Campbell 
was stalkin<r around amoncf the enemy in his shirt sleeves, 
and his collar open, and when some of the Americans 
pointed him out as their commander, the Britisli, at first, 
from his unmilitary plight, seemed to doubt it, but a number 
of officers now surrendered their swords- to him, until he 
had several in his hands, and under his arm.f 

It is proper to adx'ert briefly to Ferguson's conduct in 
the battle. It was that of a hero. lie did a^.l that mortal 
man could have done, under the circumstances, to avert the 
impending catastrophe. Me was almost ubiquitous — his 
voice, his presence, and his whist/e everywhere animuted 
his men, either to renew their bayonet charges, or maintain 
a firm stand against the steadily encroaching mountaineers. 
But he trusted too much to the bavonet against an enemv as 
nimble as the antelope. \ "lie had," says Doctor Ferguson, 
" tw(> horses killed under him, while he remained untouched 
himself; but he afterwards received a number of wounds, 
of which, it is said, any one was mortal, and dropping from 
his horse, expired, while his loot 3'et hung in the stirrup." S 
This, if we mav credit Lee's Memoirs of the H'ar in the 

'■' Jiid^'e J. F, Graves' sketch of his grandfather. Josse J'ranklin, in the sciomi series of 
Canithcrs Inci.lenis in the Old Xorih State, pp. .•03-4; MS. statement of Kiijah Callaway; 
MS. correspondence of Dr. A. \. Kincannon. of Missoiir", and John L. Worth, of .Mt. 
Airy. N. C. 

t Lieutenant William Russell. James Snodgrass. James Keys, David Campbell, Henry 
Dickenson, and David Dcaltie. of Campbell's regiment, and William King, and George 
Riitlcdpe, of Shelhy's men. 

X Johnson's Creene^ i. 306. 

\ Memoir of Colonel Ferguson, 33, 






Souths and Burin's History of Virginia, liappencd after 
fifty niiiuites' fighting ; or some ten or fifteen minutes before 
the final close of the action ; and about three minutes before 
the flag was displayed for surrender, according to Thomas 
Maxwell, one of Shelby's men. 

As long as Ferguson lived, his unyielding spirit scorned 
to surrender. He persevered until he received his mortal 
wounds. Ilis fall very naturally disheartened his followers. 
For some time before that fatal event, there was really nothing 
to encourage them, save the faintest hope which they vainly 
cherished of momentary relief from Tarleton. Animated 
by the brave example of their heroic leader, and still con- 
fiding in his fruitful military resources, they had maintained 
the unequal contest under all disadvantages. Losing his 
inspiration, they lost all — with him perished the last hope 
of success. * 

Colonel Ferguson notonlv made a sad mistake in delav- 
ing a single moment at King's mountain with a view to a 
passage at arms with his pursuers ; but he committed, if pos- 
sible, a still more grievous error in tlie supposed strength of 
his posidon. •' His encampment," says the South Carolina 
historian, Ramsay, " on the top of the mountain was not 
well chosen, as it gave the Americans an opportunity of 
covering themselves in their approaches. Had he pursued 
his march on charging and driving the first part}' of the 
militia which gave wa}', he might have got off' wiUi the 
most of his men ; but his unconquerable spirit disdained 
either to flee or to surrender." The historian, Gordon, takes 
the same view: "Major Ferguson was overseen in making 
his stand on the mountain, which, being much covered with 
woods, gave the militia, who were all riflemen, the oppor- 
timity of approaching wear, with greater safety to themselves 
than if the}' had been upon plain, open ground. The Major, 
however, might have made good his retreat, if not with the 
whole, at least with a great part of his men, had he pursued 

*Stedmaii'.s American H\tr, ii, 223, 



his march immediately upon his chargin^^ aiul dri\ing 
the first detachment ; for thougli the militia acted with spirit 
for undisciplined troops, it was with diiliculty that they could 
he prevailed upon to renew their attack, after heinL( charged 
with thehayonet. They kept aloof, and continued popping ; 
then gathered round, and crept nearer, till, at length, they 
leveled the Major with one of their shots." 

General Simon Bernard, one of the most distinguished 
engineers, and aids-de-camp of the great Napoleon, and sub- 
sequently in the United States engineer service, on examin- 
ing the batde-ground of King's Minmtain, said: ''The 
Americans, by their victor}- in that engagement, erected a 
monument to perpetuate the brave men who had fallen 
there ; and the shape of the hill itself would be an eternal 
monument of the military genius and skill of Colonel Fer- 
guson, in selecting a position so well adapted for defence; 
and that no other plan of assault but that pursued by the 
mountain-men, could have succeeded against him."* 

One of our best historical critics, General DePeyster, 
observes: "Ferguson set an inordinate value on the posi- 
tion which he had selected, wliich. howe\er strong against 
a rcLTular attack, was not defensible against the attacks 
which were about to be directed upon it. How grievously 
he erred as to the intrinsic availabilit}' of King's Mountain 
as a military position, was evinced In' his remark that ' all 
the Rebels from h — 1 could not drive him from it.' It is true, 
he was not driven from it; but its bald, rocky summit 
merely served, like the sacrificial stone of the Aztecs, for 
the imuKjlation of the victims." f 

The historian, Lossing, who visited theballle-field thirty 
odd years ago, justl}' observes: "It was a strange place 
for an encampment or a battle, and to one acquainted with 
the region, it is difiicult to understand why Ferguson and 
his band were there at all." X 

'•' RaTusey's History of Tennessee, 239. 
t llislorical Afagasiiie. M;ircli, 1869. 194. 
J Pictorial Field Book 0/ the Reiolution, ii, 4^3. 


' ■ i 


. \ 



i \ 


. J, 




It is useless to speculate on what might have changed 
the fate of the day ; yet a few suggestions may not be out of 
place in this connection. Trivial circumstances, on critical 
occasions, not imfretjuenth' produce the most momentous 
consequences. Had Tarleton, for instance, suddenly- made 
his appearance before or during the battle — had the detach- 
ment at Gibbs' plantation, near the Cowpcns, or INIoore's 
foraging party, vigorously attacked the mountaineers in the 
rear, during the progress of the engagement, and especiall}' 
during the confusion consequent upon the repulses of Camp- 
bell's and Shelby's columns ; or had Ferguson chosen 
suitable ground on the plains, and in the woods, where his 
men could have availed themselves of shelter for their pro- 
tection, and fought on an equality with their antagonists, 
the resul*" might have been very diflerent, and Ferguson 
have been the hero of the hour — and, it may be, the fate of 
American Independence sealed. But in God's good 
Providence, such a fatal blow was not in store for the 
suffering patriots. 

Most of the accounts represent that the British Colonel 
was killed out-right. He is said to have received six or 
eight bullet holes in his body — one penetrating his thigh, 
another re-shattering his right arm just above the elbow ; 
and ^■et he continued to raise his sword in his left hand,* till 
a rifle ball piercing liis head, put an end to further lighting 
or consciousness, f In falling from his I^orse, or while 

'■'MS. stalement of Elijah Callawny. in i8.j2. 

•|- Ramsay, (iordon, Smith, in his Anuyidin ll'ar, Moultrie, Judge James, Mills and 
Foote arc among tlic .American writers, who unite in declaring that I'"erguson "received a 
mortal woiiiid," Stedman, Mackenzie, and Lamb, Tritish writers, all ot whom were con- 
nected with ihc Lritish service at the time, make the same assertion. The Ciyiuml'ian 
Afiigrtzinc, Jyg^, p. 32-5, states also that he received a mortal wound. Dr. John Whelchel. 
of Williams' men, asserts in his pension statement, that Ferguson " fell mortally wounded ; '' 
and William White, of Lacey's regiment, in his pension application, says " he was mortally 
wouiuleil, and died a short lime afterwards," 

The place where Ferguson fell is indicated on the diagrain of the baitle-field, near the 
brow of the south eastern portion of the mountain, opposite to McDowell s column, but 
probably where Sevier's men had advaiued at the close of the conflict, when the enemy 
had been firced to that quarter. That locality was pointed out. f,illy fifty years ago, by 
William Logan, a survivor of the battle, to his grandson, the present Col. J, U. Logan, and 
in which. Arthur I'atlerson, a cotemporary of the Revolution, and familiar with King's 
Mountain all his life, coincided. 




being conve3'ecl to tlie rear, ti silver whistle dropped from 
his vest pocket, which was picked up by one of his soldiers, 
Elias Powell, who preserved it many 3'ears ;* and Powell, 
and three others, as John Spelts relates, were seen, at the 
close of tlie surrender, bearing off, in a blanket, their fallen 
chief to a spring near the mountain's brow, on the southern 
side of tlie elevation ; and there gently bolstered him up 
with rocks and blankets. One of the Tories, who had just 
grounded his gun, taking in the situation, and true to his 
plundering instincts, ran up, and was in the act of thrusting 
his hand into the dving man's pockets, when the imfeeling 
intruder was repelled by one of the attendants, who, rudel}^ 
pushing him away, exclaimed with a sarcastic oath — '• Are 
you going to rob the dead ? " f A little after, Colonel Shelby 
rode up, and thinking perhaps that Ferguson might yet be 
sensible of what was said to him — though he evidentlv was 
not — exclaimed : " Colonel, th fatal blow is struck — we've 
Burgoyned you?";]; The life of this restless British leader 
soon ebbed away. Some of the more dioughtless of the 
Whig soldiery, it is said, committed an act which we would 
lain be excused from the pain of recording. '* The moun- 
taineers, it is reported, used every insult and indignity, after 
the action, towards the dead body of Major Ferguson."^ 

So curious were the Whigs to see the fallen British 
chief, that many repaired to the spot to view his body as it 
la}- in its gore and glory. Lieutenant Samuel Johnson, of 
Cleveland's regiment, who had been severely disabled in 
the action, desired to be carried tliere, that he, too, miglit 

'■'Powell was out of the ymmg men imliiced to enlist nniler FerRiison's banner, and 
became much attached to his commander He was taken prisoner to Hillshoro, where 
he was paroled, and returned to his widowed mother, who lived at what is known as 
Powellton, two miles east of Lenoir, Caldwell County, on the western frontier of North 
Carolina. There he lived until his death. May 5th. 1832. The silver whistle then went to 
one of his decendaiits. who removed West, and having since died, the relic has been lost 
sight of. John Spelts related, that FerKUson had a yet larger silver whistle, a foot in length, 
which fell into the hands of Colonel Slielby. 

fStateinent of S])elts. 

t Related by Spelts and Thomas H. Shelby, a son of the Colonel. 

'i Tarleton's C<tm/>.iig-its, 165. 

.' ) 



look upon the dying or lifeless leader of the enemy whom he 
had so valiantly fought ; when Colonel Cleveland, and two 
of the soldiers, bore the wounded Lieutenant to the place 
of pilgrimage : * and even the transfixed Robert IIenr\-, amid 
his pains and sulVerings, could not repress his curiosity to 
take a look at Ferguson. It was probably where he was 
conveyed, and breathed his last, that he was buried — on 
the south-eastern declivity of the mountain, where his mortal 
remains, wrapped, not in a military cloak, or hero's coflln, 
but in a raw beef's hide, f found a peaceful sepulture. 

The tradition in that region has been rife for more than 
lift}' years, tliat Ferguson had two mistresses with him, per- 
haps nominally cooks — both fme looking ^oung women. 
One of them, known as Virginia Sal, a red haired ladv, it is 
related, was the first to fall in the battle, and was buried in 
the same grave with Ferguson, as some assert : or, as others 
have it, beside the British and Tory slain ; while the other, 
Virginia Paul, survived the action ; and after it was over, 
was seen to ride around ihe camp as unconcerned as though 
nothing of unusual moment had happened. She was con- 
veyed with the prisoners at least as far as Biu'ke Court 
House, now Morganton, North Carolina, and subsequently 
sent to Lord Cornwallis" army. * 

That almost envenomed hate which the mountaineers 
cherished towards Ferguson and his Tor}' followers, nerved 
them to marvellous endurance while engaged in the battle. 
They had eaten little or nothing since they left theCowpens 
some eighteen hours before — much of the time in the rain, 
protecting their rifles and ammunition by divesting them- 
selves of tlieir blankets or portions of their clothing ; and they 
had been, since leaving Green river, for over forty hours, 
without rest or repose. " I had no shoes," said Thomas 
Young, " and of course fought in the battle barefoot, and, 

•■• Statement of Lewis Johnson, a son of the Lieutenant, 
iMS. letter of Dr. W. J. T. Miller, July 30, 1880, 

! MSS. of Dr, John U, Locan; MS. letters of James J. Hampton, Dr. C, L. Hunter, 
Colonel J. R. Logan, an.l Dr. W. J. T. Miller. 

I'- ' I 



when it was over, m}- feet were much lacerated and bleed- 
Others, too, must have suflered from the llinty rocks 


" * 

over which they hurriedly passed and re-passed during the 
enijaffement. As an instance of the all-absorbiu!^ clVect of 
the excitements surroimding them, when tlie next morning 
the mountaineers were directed to discharge their guns, '* I 
fired my large old musket," said Young, " charged in time 
of the battle with two musket balls, as T had done every time 
during the engagement ; and the recoil, in this case, was 
dreadful, but I had not noticed it in the action."! 

Taking it for granted that the Loyalist force under 
Ferguson at King's INIountain was eight hundred, it may 
be interesting to state what little is known of the respective 
numbers from the two Carolinas. In Lieutenant Allaire's 
newspaper narrative, he refers to the North Carolina regi- 
ment, commanded by Colonel Ambrose Mills, as number- 
ing " about three hundred men." A Loyalist writer in the 
London Political Mag-aziiic, for April, 1783, who appar- 
ently once resided in the western part of North Carolina, 
asserts that the Loyalists of the Salisbury district — which 
embraced all the western portion of the North Province — 
who were with Ferguson, mmibered four hundred and 
eicrhtv. Deductiny the absent foratiin<; partv under Colonel 
Moore, who was a Nortli Carolinian, and whose detachment 
may be presumed to have been made up of men from that 
Province, we shall have about the number mentioned by 
Allaire remaining. This would suggest that about three 
hundred and twenty was the strength of the South Canjlina 

As the North Carolina Tories were the first to give way, 
according to Allaire, and precipitate the defeat that followed, 
it only goes to prove that they were the hardest pressed by 
Campbell and Shelby, which is quite probable ; or. that the 
South Carolinians had been longest drilled for the service. 

* Rev. James H. Saye's MS. conversatiuns with Thomas Young, of Union County, 
South Carolina, March 27, 1S43. 
f Saye's MSS. 




I ' '5 

'iff ' 



and wore consequently best prepared to maintain their 
ground. It is not a little singular, so lew ot"the promi- 
nent Loyalist leaders, of tlu' Ninety Six district, were pre- 
sent with Ferguson — only Colonel Vesey Husband, of 
whom we have no knowledge, and who, we suppose, was 
in some way associated with the South Carolina Tories, to- 
gether with Majors Lee and Plummer. Where were the 
other Loyalist leaders of that region — Colonels Cunningham, 
Kirkland, and Clary, Lieutenant-Colonels Philips and 
Turner, and Majors Gibbs, Hill, and Hamilton ? Some 
were doubtless with the part}' w hom the Whigs had passed 
at Major Gibbs' plantation, near the Cowpens, or possibly 
with Colonel Moore's detachment ; others were scattered 
here and there on furlough ; but they were not at King's 
Mountain, when sorely needed, with all the strength they 
could have brought to the indefatigable Ferguson. That 
freebooter. Fanning, with his Tory foragers, who were 
beating about the country, fell in with Ferguson live days 
before his defeat ; * but preferring their independent bush- 
whacking service, they escaped the King's Mountain 

Paine, in his American Crisis, berated the Loyalists as 
wanting in manhood and bravery, declaring: " I should 
not be afraid to go with an hundred Whigs against a thous- 
and Tories. Every Tory is a coward, for a servile, slavish, 
self-interested fear is the foundation of Toryism ; and a 
man under such influence, though he may be cruel, can 
never be brave." Yet, it must be confessed, that the 
Loyalists evinced no little pluck and bravery at King's 
Mountain. But they had been specially fitted for the 
ser\ice. and under the eye of a superior drill-master, as few 
Americans had been in either army ; and it had been justly 
said, that, on this occasion, they fought with halters around 
their necks ; and they, too. were expert riflemen. 

The British Southern leaders were not only surprised 

«' Fanniiig's Narrative, 13, 



and cima/.ecl beyond measure, but were filled with alarm at 
the unexpected appearance of so ibrniiilable a force — 
larirelv exaiiLCeraled as it was — from border settlements 
of wliich the\' had not so much as heard of their existence. 
Lord Rawdon, in his letter of October twenty-fourth, 1780, 
referrin<r to Ferguson's miscarriage, and the men who 
confronted and defeated him, says: "A luunerous army 
now appeared on the frontier, drawn from Xolachucky, 
and other setUeinents beyontl the mountains, whose very 
names had been imknown to us ; " and Mackenzie, one 
of Tarleton's officers, probably mistaking Nolachucky, in 
what is now East Tennessee, for Kentucky, states in his 
Strictures: " The wild and iierce inhabitants of Kentucky, 
and other settlements westward of die Alleghany mount- 
ains, vmder Colonels Campbell and Boone," then naming 
the other leaders, '• assembled sudilenly and silently ; " and 
adding, that these mountaineers " advanced with the inten- 
tion to seize upon a quantit}' of Indian presents, which they 
understood were but slighdy guarded at Augusta, and which 
were, about that time, to have been distributed among a 
body of Creek and Cherokee Indians assembled at that 

This erroneous statement of Mackenzie's has been 
adopted by Stedman in his History of tlic America n War, 
and by Dr. Ferguson, in his iMoiioir of Colonel Ferguson. 
So critical a student of American history as Gen. J. W. 
DePeyster, has fallen into the error, that the "dark and 
bloody ground" of Kentuck}- contributed her quota of 
iighting men for King's Mountain battle.* But none of the 
King's Mountain men came from that region, though many 
of them subsequently became permanent settlers there ; and 
so far from Colonel Boone having participated in the cam- 
paign, he was hundreds of miles aw^av, in his beloved 
Kentucky. The day before King's Mountain battle, while 
he and his brother, Edward Boone, were out buflalo hunting, 


* Historical Magazine, March, 1869. p. 190. 

V ''■ 


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..I «,f 



lli(j l.itter WHS shot doiul by ;i party of Indians, conccalinl in 
a cane-l)rako, some liftoen or twenty miles from Hooncsboro, 
and the former made good his escape to tliat settlement ; 
and, the day of the contest on King's Mountain, he was with 
a party in pursuit of tlie Indians who had killeil his brother. 
Nor is it in any sense true, that the plunder of Indian goods 
at Augusta was their object — all the facts go to disprove anv 
such intention. Tiiis, however, seems to havt' been one t)f 
the moti\e.s held out b}' Colonel Clarke to his men in his 
attack on Augusta, as stated by Lee in his Jlfcuioirs. 

There is no great discrepancy among the dilferent 
authorities as to the length of time occupied by the engage- 
ment — if we discard, as we must, Mills' inordinate mistake, 
that "the battle began between eight and nine o'clock in 
the morning, and lasted till night." A writer in the 
Virgin/a Arg'iis, of December elex'enth, 1805, evidently a 
survivor of Campbell's men, says, "in forty-two minutes wi' 
made them beg for quarters," referring, doubtless, to die 
time (jf Ferguson's fall, and the running up of the white 
flag. General Davidson, in his lettc r to General Sunmer, 
states, three days after the action, on the authorit}- of 
Major Tate, of Lacey's corps, who was in the engage- 
ment, that it lasted "forty-seven minutes." Lee, in his 
History of the Southern Cani/xf/i^i/s, who was subsequently 
associated in service with Campbell, declares that after 
"the battle had raged fjr fifty minutes,'' Ferguson was 
shot, when the fire of th(! enemv slackened, and their sur- 
render followed. Burk, in his History of Virginia, makes 
the same statement. This fixes the time, as nearly as we 
can ascertain it, when Ferguson fell. There would seem 
to have been but little resistance on the part of the enemy 
after the loss of their commander ; it coidd have been pro- 
longed a few minutes onlv at most. Both Tarleton and 
Stedman, British authorides, state that the action lasted 
" near an hour." 

In Colonel Shelby's letter to his father, written October 
twelfth, 1780, he says : " the batde continued warm for an 



hour ; " ;iiul he wrote the sumo chi}' to Colonel Arthur 
Cunipl)cll, that *' the llrhig was kept up with fury, ou hoth 
sitles, for near an hour." Hut Cainpl:)ell, Shelby, ami 
Cleveland, in their olllcial account, assert that " a lla<^ was 
hoistetl by Captain DePeyster, their coinnumdinjLj olFicer — 
Major Ferguson having been killed a little while before ; " 
that " the engagement lasted an hour and five minutes." The 
British Captain Ryerson who shared in the contest, states in 
his account in Rivingston's New York Royal Gazette^ of 
March twenty-llrst, 1781 , that " the action lasted an hour and 
five minutes, very hot indeed ; " and Lieutenant Allaire, an- 
other British contestant, says, in his newspaper narrative, 
that " the action was severe for upwards of an hour; " and, 
in his MS. Diary ^ he is more explicit, staling that it lasted '■ an 
hour and five minutes." The probabilities arc that Doctor 
Johnson, who timed by his watch the last desperate attack 
of Campbell's and Shelby's corps, also noted the duration 
of the battle, from its commencement to the final suppression 
of the firing on the Tories ; and that Campbell and his 
associates derived from him their knowledi/e of the lenixth 
of the engagement, and which ma\^ be regarded as correct. 
The exact strength and losses of the British at King's 
Mountain can only be approximately determined. Fer- 
guson's Rangers may be set down at one hundred — though 
they may have somewhat exceeded that figure. The 
general esdmate is, in round numbers, one thousand militia 
or Loyalists, w^hich would make a total of eleven hundred ; 
or, perhaps eleven hundred and twenty-live, as the Amei-ican 
oflicial report has it, ibunded on the provision returns of that 
dav. In General Lenoir's account it is stated, that "not 
a single man of them escaped that was in camp at die 
commencement of the batde." This is probably true, and 
goes to show that the party of foragers who returned at the 
close of the batde and fired on the Americans, mortally- 
wounding Colonel Williams, had left previously without 
coming under this categor3^ It is pretty evident that 
a detachment left camp that morning — doubtless on a for- 


II . 



;i<^nn<^ oxpcdition ; ami this ri'lurninj^ party were probably 
a portion of the number. Gorilon, in his American liar, 
usually ^ood authority, says four huiulretl and forty escaped ; 
and lla\ wooil's Tc/Dwasrr ^ixes the same statement, evi- 
dently eoj)ied from Gordon ; while Mills' Sfatisf/cs of South 
Carolina gives the number as three hundred. Jnd^e 
Johnson, in his Life of General Greene, says two hundred 
escaped ; and this accords with the statement of Alexander 
Greer, one of Sevier's men, who adds that ihey were under 
Colonel iMoore,* perhaps the Tory commander at Ram- 

* Whether Colonel John or r:4trick Mnorc is the one referred to, \* not certain— proh- 
ahly the former, as Colonel Ferguson seemed not to have formed a good opinion of the 
conduct of Patrick Moore in failing to defend Thicketty Fort the preceding July. Moses 
Moore, the father of tolonel John Moore, was a native of Carlisle. Knglund, whence he 
migrated to Virginia in 1745, marrying a Miss Winstdi:, mar Jame^-town, in that I'ro%incc; 
and in 1753, settling in what is now Gaston County, North Carolina, eight miles west of 
Lincolnton. Here Jidin Moore was born; and being a frontier country, when old enough 
he was sent to Cirain ille Ci unty, in thai I'rovim c, fur Ins education, When the KevoUition 
broke out, he hecaine a zealous Loyalist ; and led a party of Tories from Tryon County, in 
Fehrii.iry, 1779, to Georgia, and uniting with Colonel lioyd on the way, they were defeated 
by Colnncl Tiikens at Kettle Creek, I'.oyd was mortally wounded, and Moore escaped to 
the itritish army in that quarter ; and is said to have participated in the defence uf Savan- 
nah. In Decemher following, he v.'as in tlie service near Moscley's Ferry, on the Ogeechce. 
lie subseiiuently returned to North Carolina, a I.ieutenant-Colonel in Hamilton's 
corps of Loyalists, and prematurely embodied a Tory force, near Camp Branch, about half 
a mile west of his father s residence ; thence marched about si.\ miles north to Tory 
Branch, and thcnco to Ramsonr's Mill, on the South Fork, where he was disastrously 
defeated. June 20th, 1780, escaping with thirty others to Camden. His regiment, the 
Royal North Carolini.xns, participnteil in Gates' defeat, losing three killed and fourteen 
wounded -among the latter. Colonel Hamilton. It is doubtful if Moore participated in the 
action, as he was about that time tinder suspension, threatened with a court martial for 
disiihedieiue of orders in raisin^- tlie Loyalists at Ramsonr's before the time appointed by 
Lord Cornwallis; but it was at Icneth deemed impolitic to bring him to trial. F.scaping 
from King's Mountain, we next find him with Captain W:'.ters, and a body of Tories, 
defeated by Colonel Washington at Hammond's Store, South Carolina, December -'Sth, 
1780. Thonch a family tradition cominc down from a sist.. • to her grandson, John H. 
Roberts, of Gaston County, represents that Moore went to Carlisle, England, and was lost 
track nf : vet the better opinion is founded on a statement by a North Carolina Loy.alist, 
published in the Polftfn,/ Mnr'tr.t^r. London, April, \i^^. that he was taken prisoner by 
Colonel Wade Hampton, near the Wateree, and hanged. He left no family. 

A few words about Colonel Pntrirk Mnorr' may not be inappropriate in this connection. 
He was of Irish descent, and a native of Virginia. He early settled on Thicketty creek in 
the north western part of South Curolina. where he commanded Fort Anderson or Ihicketty 
Fort, wbirh he surrendered, without firing a gun to Colonel Shelby and associates. He 
was subsequently captured by a party of Americans, according to the tradition in his 
family, near Ninety Sif. and was supposed to have been killed by his captors, as his remains 
were af'urwards found, and recognised by his great height — six feet and seven inches. His 
death probably occurred in itSi, He left a widow, who survived many years, a son and 
three daughters; and his decendants in South Carolina and Georgia are very worthy 





sour's Mill. Jos(>pli Kerr, ono of Williams' nn>n. after 
enumerating the killed and prisontM.s of lln« t-nemv, adds — • 
" the balanee escaped." (ieneral Alexaiidi-r Smythe, who 
lived on the Ilolston, said in a speech in Congress, in iHic), 
'• only twenty-one escaped " — referrin;^', perhaps, to that 
party of foraj^t-rs who mortally wounded Colonel Williams. 
Andrews, in his Jlislory of the War, says " vt>rv few 
escaped ;" and Tarlelon mentions about picking up some 
of the fugitives. 

\\\' mav conclude that Moon-'s forairiuii' detachment 
ninnbered about two luuuhx-d ; which would have left about 
nine hundred alt(\gether under Ferguson with whom to 
light the battle. 'V\\v British Lieutenant Allaire says, the 
Loyalists consisted of eiglit hundred, and Ferguson's corps 
of otu' hmulred,* which tallies pretty well with Tarleton's 
account in his SonlJicni Caiiijxin^iis, of about one thousand 
Loyal militia, supposing that two hundred of them were on 
detached service at the time of the battle ; and it agrees 
also with Lord Rawdon's statement, made towardtithe close 
of October, that Ferguson had "about eight hundred 
militia " in the engagement — to this, of course, should be 
added his one hundred Provincial Rangers. Allaire, and 
other British writers, assuming as true that the exaggerated 
account of the entire Whig strength, including those in the 
rear, was well-nigh three thousand, assign as a reason of 
their overwhelming defeat, the great superiority of their 
antagonists — three to one, as they assert, against them. In 
point of fact, the numbers of the opposing forces were about 
equal ; and it was their persistency, their pluck, and excel- 
ling in the use of the rifle, that gave the mountaineers the 

Both in Allaire's New York Ga~cllc and MS. Diar\ 

* Allaire's account in thti New Vork Royal Gazette, February 24. 1781 : aiul in his MS. 
Diary, kindly cuniniiinicated by his yrandsun, J. DeLamcy Rubinson, of New lirunswick. 
Stedman jjives Pergiison's as ninr hundred and sixty; Mrs. Warren, in her History 0/ the 
Revolution, ei^lit hundred and fifty. The Urilisli historian. Andrews, in his History of the 
War. still furilier diminishes the number — killed and wounded upwards of three hundred, 
and four hundred prisoners. 


A'/.W/'.V .]/iH'\/'.l/.V 

iUiounts, lu- St, lies llu> Hiilisli losi on llu- licld .iiid 
in prisoiicr.s, ;is loll )\\,s : ()t"llir viups. C'oloiul 
1'\m"j;usoii, LiiMitrn.iiit Mt'lMiiiiis ami lii^iiirni piivaU's, 
ttUal. twi'Uly killi-il ; (.'aptaiii Kyrfsoii aiul lliiil\-l\\i> Sri- 
j.;'(>an(s .mil pi i\ alr.s, lolal, lliii l\ ihin- w miiulrd making; (lu> 
kilii'tl ami wnuiulrd lo^i'llur, lllu -lliirc ; (wn C'aplaius, 
loiif 1 ariiunanls. ilin-i' ICiisij^ns, onr Sui i;i-(>ii. ainl lill\-toiif 
Sori^oants ami |n i\ atos, iiulmliiit;' llu- wdiiiulnl. inakm<; a 
tutal ol .si\l\ -loui" luisoiu'i.s slmwiut;, ai vonliiij; to this 
ai'i'ouiil. oii!\ thiily-oiii" ol" l'\'rmi,soir.s lorps \\ ho I'svapcil 
bciii!.;' killi'il or woiiiulril. 'Tiiis. lio\vi'\rr, is a inaiiilrst 
riroi', t'of tin- tlt*!\ -thioo killfil ami wouinlrd, ami thiil\-«)m' 
iminjurrd im-n woiiKl aiKl up oiil\ i-i^l'' lour, wlun-as, 
I ■ 


I Al 

anr i"oiu"i'ili"s tliat tluM'o w > 

al till' roui- 

lUvMUiMUcnl i>l llu' hatlK\ om- luiuihril ol" l-'on^'usou's I'oips. 
In this I'siiiuali' ol" pri.souris, lu- iliil not prohaMx iui huK' 
tho survivors of I afuli-naiit 'Paxloi's t\\iMit\ iliai;ooiis, auil 
ton wa^ciiuTs. tak.ii Troiu tlu- l-iaum'is inoro than ououidi 
to uiako up llio lull I'oiuplcuu'iil assi^iU'd to iho Pioxin- 
lials b\' ihal oil! 


also stall's, that llu 



indivvl killed, uiuil\ 



lost " \\\ i>!lu-ors ami pruati's, ouo lui 
wouiulod, and about six hundroil prisotiois. 
till' |>risom>rs at six luuulrod ami ton, aud iho killod and 
aiio ii-|>iMts tlirin. would make up tlio lull 


1 as Al 

amouul ol llio sup|>o;.aMr 'Torx toiio i'ii;lit luiiuhi'd. 

It is slalod in llu- I'llioial lopoi t ol ^.'ainplu-ll and his 
assoi-ialos. thai ol l'\'i;;iisou's oorps nir 'loon won 
and thir!\ li\o woundod oxooodiin;- Allair 
ono onl\ ; but Uiakinj^' rl" tho odioors ami pri\atos sixt\- 
oiLjht piisonoi's, wliiili would .-ooui lo lia\o imlmlod oul\ a 

o's aoiouut b\ 

nai't ol iho w ouuil 

thai iho 1 Olios had two huudrod and 

six l^llU'il, tuu 

iuimhid auii 1\\ ont\ -oiyht woundod 


lorts-oii^lil ollii-i-rs ami sis humhod j>ri\alos mado |>i isoiu is 

-thus ai'ooimtiui; lor a total ot I'io\ imial- 
ot" oloxon hiiiulri'd ami llui'i-. 


I I 

o\ alisls 

Unl\ li\o davs allor iho balllo, C'oloml Sliollw , in a 

./A/) //'.v ///:a'0/s. 


Kmu-i lo liis I'.ilhi'f, st.itnl tin- loss ol l'\'i|;usi>irs i-oips at 
lliirlv killed. twiiiU c\rU\ Wiuiiulrj. .iiul lill\ srvcii piisoii- 


ih.U lln 

(U ir 

II, ul 


liiiiulivHl .iiui i\\ riil\ -si'vcn 




uhril .iiiil twriilv li\«' womuK'il. .iiul six 
l(>it\ niiu- prisiMU'is; o\ bolli iKissril lomilicr. 

(Uir liiiiulii-tl .iiul liH\ si'Nt'il kilKil. owe 

liiiiiili ril 




.oiiiuK'il, .md seven Iniiulieil .mil m\ [Misdiiers 

line llioiis.iiul 



lere i: 

.1 ililleieiue cl tlie 


tl ol llie Ttirii's .iliMie. ol se\ eiil \ -iriie, be!\\ eeu Slielln 's 

.st.iiemeni !o liis l.illiei . ,mil llie .u'eniiiU. whieli he i.s 


lo 1 

i.i\ e ilr,i\\ II 

I up. .iiiil sii;iieil .1 lew 


.Iter, III 

I'oiijiiiu lion wilii ^.".iinpbe!! .iiul C"le\eKiiul. Tliis iliserep- 

aii'N IS iiii;u'i'oiiul,ii>le. e\iepl oil 

-ui>!ioMlioii (he 

ollu'Kil sl,ileuieul w .is ili-sii; 'leiK as (. oloiiel .Slu' 



III Ills M.MialUl' ol I.S.' 


iM\e tone lo pul^lie repi 




lll.ll II W.I.' 




iiuleliiiile." 'Ilie piohabililii's .ire the lupines ol tlie 
p.llriols, .IS to ihe e\lenl ol the losses i>l the eiieiii\ . \\ ei e 

loiisiilei .iIm\ o\ er -( 

liiii.ileil lor puhlie elleil ; aiul llie 

111 isonei; 

w r\c souiew 

iipw .lUl 

si\ luiiulieil 

.St. Ill 

III ( leiier.i! ( n 

eeiie s iiKliUiseripts 

aiul w hull 




praelie.iii\ ioiiluius h\ sl.ilm;; tlie\ weie •• .ihoiil si\ 

" l']\a^;;er.ilion ol siueesslul operulioiis. ' w roU- (.'oloiiel 


lo ( ieiu ( II eeiu 

w as'tenslie ol the limes 


ihis peih.ips, e\eiis,ihle in this iuslaiu'e, siiue a 
total ol the eiuiuv . like ol' I'^emiison's .it Kiiii;".s 
Moiinl.iiii. was a eireiiu. I.iiue i>t r.iie oei iii reuee, ami the 
\\ hiL;s piohahly lluniqht il w a.s wi'll lo iiiaki- the most ol" it 
|ore\i\e the ilroopiui;' spiiit.s t^f ihe people. l.o\e ot" 
ioiiiiliv pieiiiuuiu.iU il o\ er ,iii\ mere ipieslious ol" e.isuis|i\ ; 
aiul thus .'^iielhv .uul liis assoei.Ues w ei e not o\ ei-iiiee .ihoiit 
the m.ilieidl tlu'eiiemv's mi'ubers. so llie\ were only 


Ueil siillieieiil'x;';e to m.ike .i iKh ideil impn-ssioti 

' ihrvnv't /.(/if ,</ X -Hrr,! •:>ttMr, 

iii. 7S. 

■ tiirriir'N (.'• 

fi'ie. til, iii. 



.|4 . 



on the minds of all classes, encouraging the friends of free 
dom, and equally depressing their enemies. 

Of the killed and wounded of the Americans, it is less 
difficult to get at tlie facts; or at least they are not involved 
in such contradictory statements as those relating to the 
British losses. Colonel Shelby, in his letter to his father, 
October twelfth, 1780, mentions six oflicers and twenty three 
privates killed, and lifty-four wounded ; but adds, that he 
believes, with more accurate returns, the killed will prove 
to be thirt3'-live, and the wounded between fift}' and sixty. 
Colonel Campbell, in his letter of October twentieth, places 
the number at about thirt}- killed, and sixty wounded. 
In the official report, made out apparently somewhat later, 
and hence more reliable, the killed are stated at twenty- 
eight, and the wounded at sixt3'-two. 

In the command of Williams, Brandon, Steen and Ham- 
mond, we have no record of any loss save that of their 
gallant leader, and the person, whose name is unknown, 
who had a presentiment of his death ; and William Giles, 
as already related, slightly wounded. Among the South 
Carolinians under Lacey and Hawthorn, no killed are 
reported, save, perhaps, David DutT and William Watson, 
who probably belonged to this corps, and but one wounded, 
Robert Miller, of Chester County, who was badh' disabled 
in his thigh. In both of these commands there were prob- 
ablv other losses. Of the Rutherford men under Colonel 
Hampton, John Smart* and Preston Goforth were killed, 
and Major James Porter and William Robertson wounded ; 
but of McPowell's Burke County men, we have no know- 
ledge of any deaths or disabilities. 

The Lincoln County men, considering their small num- 
ber, suftered considerably in the engagement — Major 
Chronicle, Captain Mattocks, William Rabb, John Boyd, 
and Arthur Patterson, killed, and Moses Henry mortally 

* Smart was killed by a Tory named Hiiijhe';. Inafter years, John Smart Jr. lipniinc 
of Iliiqhcs in West Tennessee, started on a mission to seek the Tory's life, but never 
returned. — W. L. Twitty. 



wounded; Lieutenant-Colonel Ilambrijrht, Captain Espcy, 
Robert Henry, William Gilmer, Jolm Chittim, * and 
William Bradley, wounded. There must have been other 
losses ; for ot' Captain Samuel Martin's company ot' about 
twenty men, he relates in his pension statement, that lour 
were killed, and two mortally wounded. 

Of Sevier's regiment, William Steele, John Brown, 
and Michael Mahoney, are known to have lost their li\es in 
the contest ; while Captain Sevier was mortally, and one 
Gilleland and Patrick Murphy se\'erely wounded. Near 
the close of the action. Captain Sevier, while stooping to 
pick up his ramrod, received a buck-shot wound near his 
kidney; after the action, the British Surgeon, Doctor 
Johnson, endeavored to extract the shot, but failed in the 
effort; dressed his wound, savinjj if he would remain 
quiet awhile, the shot could be extracted, and he would 
probably recover ; but if he attempted to return home at 
once, his kidneys would inflame, and about the nintli d<iy 
he would expire. Fearing to be left behind, lest the Tories 
might wreak their vengeance on him, he started on horse- 
back for his Nolachucky home, accompanied b}^ his 
nephew, James Sevier. On the ninth day, w'hen at Bright's 
Place on tlie Yellow Mountain, preparing their frugal meal, 
he was suddenly taken worse, and died within an hoiu% and 
his remains, wrapped in his blanket, were interred beneath 
a lofty mountain oak. 

After the battle, among the stores captured from the 
enem}' was a keg of rum, some of which was conveyed to 
the wounded Pat Murpliy, with which to bathe his wound. 
IIehad'''een shot across the windpipe in front, cutting it 
considerably. Pat held the cup while a companion gave 
the wound a f lithful bathmg : this done, he swallowed the 
remainder, remarking with much saii^' /raid, "a little /;/ 
was as good as oiif.^' \ 

* Chittim w:is plnced on the iiivniid roll of pensioners in 1815, drawing seventy-two 
dollars a year, till his death, Dei eniher 24, 1818. 

f Statement of tlic late Major John Sevier, a son of Colonel Sevier. 





Colonel Shelby's regiment no doubt suHcred from losses 
in the action ; but the particulars are wanting, save that 
Captain Shelby, William Cox, and John Fagon wore 
wounded. As Shelby's men encountered hard fighting, and 
were repeatedly charged do\\n the mountain, they must 
necessarily have lost some of their number, and had more 
wounded than the three whose names are mentioned. 

Ot' the Wilkes and Surry men, imder Cleveland and 
Winston, we have only the names of two men killed — 
Thomas Ijicknell, and Daniel Siske, of W^ilkes County ; 
Major Lewis, Captains Lewis, Sm.ith, and Lenoir, Lieu- 
tv^nants Johnson and J. M. Smith, Charles Gordon, and 
John Childers wounded — tlie latter badlv. Where so manv 
officers were disabled, there must have been several otliers 
of this gallant retriment killed and wounded. 

Colonel Campbell's Virginians, who fought so noblv and 
persistently throughout the action, met with severer losses 
than an}' other regiment engaged in this hard day's contest. 
Of the killed were Captain William Edmondson, Lieutenants 
Reece Bowen, William Blackburn, and Robert Edmondson, 
Sr., Ensigns Andrew Edmondson, John Beattie, James 
Corry, Nathaniel Dry den, Nathaniel Gist, James Philips, 
and Ilumberson Lyon, and private Henry Ilenigar. 
Lieutenant Thomas jNIcCulloch, and Ensign James Laird, 
who were mortally wounded, died a few da3-s thereafter. 
Captain James Dvsart, Lieutenants Samuel Newell, Robert 
Edmondson. Jr., and eighteen privates wounded,* of whom 
were Fredrick Fisher. Jolm Skeggs Benoni Banning, 
Charles Kilgore, William Bullen, Leonard Hyce, Israel 
Hayter. and William Moore, who recovered. The names 
of the other ten disabled "Virginians have not been preserved. 

So badlv wounded was William Moore, that his leg had 
to be amputated (m the field. lie was necessarily left at 

* Samiiel Newcll's letter to neneral Francis Preston, states that Camiibell's regiment 
held thirty-five killed and wounded. As fourteen were killed including two officers who 
shortly after died of their wounds, it would leave twenty-one wounded, three of « lioni 
were officers. 

n r 



some good Samaritan's ; but when his associates returned 
to their distant 1 lolston homes, and told the story of their 
victor}', and its cost in hie and suiVering, iiis devoted wife, 
on learning her husband's terrible misfortune, thougli in the 
month of November, mounted her horse and rode all the 
long and dreary journe}'^ to the neighborhood of King's 
Mountain — such was the intrepidity of the fronder women, 
as well as the men, of those trying times ; and having nursed 
him until sufficiently recovered, she conveyed him home, and 
he lived to a good old age, * dying in 1826, after having 
received from the Government an invalid pension for thirty- 
seven years. 

It is remarkable, that thirteen officers to onl}- a single 
private of Campbell's men, were killed or mortally wounded 
during the battle — nearly one-half of the fatalities of the 
whole Whig force engaged in the contest. This disparity of 
losses between the leaders and privates is a striking proof 
how fearlessly the officers exposed themselves in rallying 
the regiment when broken, and leading on their men by 
their valor and heroic examples to victory. One-third of 
the wounded w^ere of Campbell's regiment. Another 
remarkable fact is, that of eight Edmondsons of the 
Virginia troops, engaged that da}-, three were killed, and 
one was wounded — all prominent and efficient offiicers of 
that corps ; the survivors having been William Edmondson, 
the major of the regiment, and privates John, Samuel, and 
William Edmondson. 

Thus the names of those who fell and those who were 
disabled, of the several Whig regiments, so far as we have 
been able to collect them, number twenty-six killed, and 
a nameless one of Hammond's men, who fell, who had a 
premonition of his fate ; and thirty-six wounded. Thert- 
must have been several others killed, beside those whose 
names are given in the several lists, and some twenty-six 

" MS. Statements of the late Ciovernor Pavid Campbell, and W'm. O. G. Lowry, Clerk 
of the Court of Washington County, Viryinia — the latter a great grandson of this patriotic 




y \\ 

■\ I }\ 





additional ones wounded. It does not appear that there was 
a single Surgeon among the Americans, and Doctor Johnson 
only, of three Surgeons of Ferguson's men, survived, who 
seems to have generously attended the wounded of the 
Whigs, as well as those of his own corps. But the frontier 
people wire much accustomed, from necessity, with splints, 
bandages, and slippery elm poultices, to treating gun-shot 
wounds and other disabilities. 

Not very long after the close of the action. Captain John 
Weir, of that part of Lincoln now comprising Gaston 
County, arrived with his company, having heard of the 
advance of the mountaineers ; and may have heard, in the 
distance, the reports of the eighteen hundred rillcs and 
muskets of the Whigs and Tories that reverberated from 
King's Mountain over the surrounding country.* Captain 
Robert Shanncni, a brave Irishman, also of Lincoln County, 
hastened with his company likewise to the Held of battle. 
And not a few of the scattered settlers of that region, men 
and women, repaired to the battle-ground to learn the news, 
antl render whatever aid they could under the circum- 
stances. Among them was Mrs. Ellen McDowell, and her 
daughter Jane, having heard the ilring from their house, 
went to the scene of strife, where they remained several 
(lavs nursini!" and attendiuir to the wounded soldiers. 

After the battle quite a number were appointed to count 
up the losses ; but their reports were so contradictory that 
little reliance could be placed in them — apparently repeating 
the process of counting them, in some instances, so that 

■'Captain Weir was born in Ireland, in 1743, where he early marrieil a Miss McKelvey. 
Their eldest son was hum in Ireland, soon after which they emigrated to America, set- 
tling on linlTalo Creek, at what is now known as Weir's P.ridge, in Gaston County, North 
Carolina. Weir wa> early commissioned a Captain, and was much engaged in scouting 
service during the Uevolution. His activity in the Whig cause excited the ire of the 
Tories. Just liefore the hattle of the Cowpens. he was caught and severely whipped by a 
Tory party, and left in the woods securely tied to a tree; hut was fortunately soon after 
found, and released liy liis friends. On another oci asion. his wife was whipped by the 
Tories f.>r refusing to divulge to them the place of lier husband's concealment. She died, 
August II, iSi(), and he on the .}th of September following, in his seventy-si.xth year. Both 
were long members of the Presbyterian church, and left many worthy descendants. 



the aggregate results greatly exceeded the facts in the case. 
Among llie natural rocky defenses, where many of the 
Tories had posted themselves, upwards of twenty of their 
dead bodies were found, completely jammed in between the 
rocks, who had been sliot directly through the head* — 
so fatally accurate was the aim of the mountain-riflemen 
when their antagonists ventured to peep out from their 
chosen fastnesses. 

Some considerable time was necessarily emplo3'ed in 
getting the prisoners properly secured, and in giving such 
attention to the wounded Whigs as the circumstances would 
permit ; Colonel Williams being taken into one of the 
British markees, as were doubtless many others. Doctor 
Johnson, of Ferguson's corps, seems to have been the good 
Samaritan of the occasion, rendering such professional 
services as he could, alike to the Whigs and his brother 
Provincials ; while the wounded of the poor Loyalists 
appear to have been left pretty much to their fate. 

The truth is, that rarely, if ever, did a body of eighteen 
hundred lighting men come into conflict, with so litttle pro- 
visions to supply their wants. Tire Americans, in their 
desperate pursuit of the enemy, trusting to luck, had literally 
nothing ; while Ferguson had been scarcely' anv more prov- 
ident in securing needful supplies. The country in the 
immediate vicinity of King's Mountain was but sparsely 
settled at that period. " It was dark again we got the 
prisoners under guard," says the unknown chronicler of 
Campbell's regiment, who left us his narrative of the 
campaign and battle. 

Many a souvenir was appropriated by the victors. 
Captain Joseph McDowell, of Pleasant Garden, secured 
some of Ferguson's table service — six of his cliina dinner 
plates, and a small coflfee cup and saucer; several of which 
interesting war trophies are vet retained among his descend- 
ants.! Colonel Shelby obtained the fallen Chieftain's 

* Statements of Silas Mcnee and John Spelts to the author. 

+ MS. letters of Mrs. R. M. I'earson, and Miss N. M. McIJowell. granddaughters, and 
Miss Anna M. Woodfin, a great grand-daughter, of Captain McDowell, 

! tfi 


! ! 




famous silver whistle, while the smaller one fell to the lot of 
Elias Powell ; and Colonel Sevier secured his silken sash, 
and Lieutenant-Coloners commission, and DePevster's 
sword. Colonel Campbell secured at least a portion of his 
correspondence. Fer^aison's white charger, who had 
careered down the mountain when his niaster was shot from 
his back, was, by general consent, assigned to the gallant 
Colonel Cleveland, who was too unwieldy to travel on foot, 
and who had lost his horse in the action. Samuel Talbot, 
tj.rning over Ferguson's dead body, picked up his pistol, 
which had dropped from his pocket. His large silver watch, 
as round as a turnip, fell into the hands of one of Lacey's 
men ; and Doctor Moore, in his I^i/c of Lacey, says he 
frequently saw it ; that it traded for about forty-five or lifty 
dollars as a curiosity. 

" Awful, indeed," says Thomas Young, " was the scene 
of the wounded, the dying and the dead, on the field, after 
the carnage of that dreadful day." * " We had," observed 
Benjamin Sharp, " to encamp on the ground with the dead 
and wounded, and pass the night amid groans and lamen- 
tations."! "My father, David Witherspoon," remarks his 
son, " used to describe the scenes of the battle-ground the 
ni<iht after the contest as heart-rendinsr in the extreme — 
the groans of the dying, and the constant cry of "water! 
water ! " \ "The groans of the wounded and dying on the 
moimtain," said John Spelts, " were truly affecting — 
begging piteoush' for a little water ; but in the hurr}', con- 
fusion, and exhaustion of the Whigs, these cries, when 
emanating from the Tories, were little heeded." § 

"Tlie red rose grew pale at the blood that was shed, 
And the white rose blushed at the shedding." 

Such was the night on King's Mountain immediately 

♦Young's Memoir \n tlie Orion magazine. 
■j-Sh-irp's narrative in the American I'io'ieer. 

t MS. letter of Colonel J. H. Witherspoon, of Lauderdale County, Alabama, No- 
vember, iS3o. 

§ Conversations witii Spelts, in December, 1843. 



succeeding the battle. While these surrounding sufTerings 
touched many a heart, others had become more or less 
hardened, believing, so far as the Tories were concerned, 
that their wretched condition, brought upon themselves, 
was a I'ust retribution from high heaven lor their unnatural 
opposition to the eHorts of their countrymen to throw oft' the 
chains of political bondage forged by the British Govern- 
ment. The Whigs, weary as they were, had to take turns 
in guarding the prisoners, with litdo or no refreshment ; 
and caring, as best the}' could, for their own over three- 
score wounded, with no little fear, withal, lest Tarleton 
should suddenly dash upon them. It was a night of care, 
anxiety and suffering, vividh' remembered, and feelingly 
rehearsed, as long as any of the actors were permitted to 


I ^ ■ 



;' i 




October, 1780. 

Battle Incidents. — Lonc^ Sam Abncy Coerced into Ferguson's Army. — 
Deatli of Arthur Patterson. — Drury A/at/iis' Ruiit^/i Experience. — 
A Tory Woman Findini^ her Slain Son. — I'atality of the Rijlemcn, — 
Preston Goforth and three Brothers Killed. — A Brother Kills a 
Brother. — The IVhit^ and Tory Logans. — William Logan Noticed. — 
Preparing to Retire — Burning Captured lVago)is — Horse- Litters 
for the I founded. — Gray's Kindness to a Wounded Tory. — .1 
Termagant Prisoner Released. — Messengers Sent to the P'oot-Men. — 
Arms Captured — Tories made to Carry Them. — Trophies of Vic- 
tory. — A Whig Woman Refusing to Share in the Plunder. — Rumor 
of Tarleton s Approach. — Burial of the Whig and Tory Head. — 
Treatment of Ferguson Considered. — Re- Interment of Remains. — 
Alarc/i of the Army. — Death of Colonel Willams. — Camp at Broad 
River. — Willams' Burial — Discovery of his Long-Iuirgotten Grave. 
— Six Tory Brothers Escape. — Notice of Colonel ll'alker. — Bran- 
don's Barbarity. — Campbell Protecting the Prisoners. — Gray's Retort 
to a Tory Vixoi. — Gray's Services. — Suffering for Food. — Feeding 
Prisoners on Corn and Pumpkins. — Billeting the Wounded. — March 
to Bickerstaff's Old Fields. 

In a contest like that on King's Mountain, lasting over 
an hour, with eighteen hundred men engaged in mortal 
combat, and with repeated charges and repulses, many a 
battle-incident occurred of an interesting or exciting char- 
acter. A number of them have already been related while 
detailing tlie services of the several corps engaged in the 
action ; but others, of a more general nature, or where Loy- 
alists were referred to, may very appropriately be grouped 
in this connection. 

Samuel Abney — better known as Long Sam Abney, to 
distinguish him from others of the name — a resident ot 
Edgefield County, South Carolina, was a Whig both in 



principle and practice. Upon the fall of Charleston, and 
the occupation of Ninety-Six and Augusta by a slnin<^ 
British force, the great body of tlie people were lorceil to 
submit — to take protection, whicli they luulerstood to mean 
neutralit\- ; but wiiich the British leaders construed verv 
differently. They were treated as conquered Rebels, and, 
in many instances, were compelled to take up arms in 
defence of a Government which thev loathed, ami to li^lit 
a<rainst their country's freedom to which their hearts were 
devoted. Sucli was Abney's situation. He was forced 
into Ferguson's Loyalist corps, and was marched to King's 

At the commencement t)f the battle, he stationed him- 
self behind a rock, where he would be secure from the balls 
of either side, determined not to fight against his country- 
men. He could not, and would not, take part in sh(n)ting 
his own friends, was his secret thought and resolution. But 
amid the shower of bullets fl3ing in every direction, he was 
not so safe as he had flattered himself; for while leaning on 
his rifle, and probably indulging in the curiosity of taking a 
view of the combatants, he unintentionally exposed his 
person more than he had designed, when a ball penetrated 
the fleshy part of his arm. This made him " a little mad," 
as he expressed it ; still he had, as yet, no thought of taking 
part in the contest. Presendy, however, he was struck 
with anotiier ball; which made him "mighty mad," and 
he then turned in and fought with the bravest and boldest 
of Ferguson's troops. Before the action was over, he was 
riddled with bullets, as he related the story of the fight — 
seven balls taking eflect on his person. He was left in a 
helpless, unconscions condition, among the slain and 
wounded on the batUe-field ; but fortunately the frost of the 
ensuing night revived him. He crawled to a neighboring 
branch, and slacked his bin-ning thirst. He was sub- 
sequently found by one of the people of tliat region, who 
compassionately conveyed him to his home, and bound up 

1 -t.^mr- ■■ 




his wounds ; :iiul, atu-r iiKiny tlays, he recovered, ;iiul 
returned to his friends, lie \v ') a good okl age, anil 
used merrily to relate how he shot, and how he was 

provoked to shoot hack again, at King's Mountain. * 

In the ni'ighborhootl of King's Mountain, on King's 
creek, resided old Arthur Patterson, an Irishman, who 
was devoted to the Whig cause, as well as his several sons 
who were settled around him. On the morning preceding 
the battle, a party of Ferguson's foragers ranging along 
that stream, came across three of the young Pattersons, 
Arthur, Jr., Thomas and William, together with James 
Lindsa\- ; arrested and marched them to camp, where they 
were placed under guard, awaiting trial. The same da}, 
learning of the apprehension of his sijus, the aged lather 
of the Pattersons started for the Mip, to see il" he could do 
anything towards effecting th lease. Mi-anwhile the 

Whigs vsuddenly made their a^^ .arance, encircled the 
mountain, and commenced their attack. During the prog- 
ress of the action, while the Americans were pressing the 
enomy, the guards were ordered to take their places in 
the line of defence, and aid, if possible, in checking the 
advance of the mountaineers. Left to themselves, amid the 
confusion of the battle, the prisoners resolved to make a 
push for freedom. Lindsay, together with William and 
Arthiu" Patterson, Jr., ran through an opening in the British 
lines, and escaped unharmed — Arthur with a portion of the 
rope, with which he had been fastened, still dangling from 
his neck. Thomas Patterson, possessing perhaps more of a 
belligerent nature, watched his opportunity, between fires, 
and made ;i bold dash for the Whig lines, reaching vShelby's 
corps, where he picked iip the ritle of a wounded soldier, 
and fought braveh^ until victory was proclaimed. His aged 
father was less fortunate. His old Irish blood, as he came 
in view of the noble army of patriots, was stirred witliin 

* Random HeccUeciions of the /devolution, by Hon. J B. O'Neall, in the Southern 
Literary Journal. August, 1838, pp. 106-7, 



him ; and hoping that lu' might aiil in Hheratmg both his 
sons and his country, ho warmly joined in the Lay, and 
was killi'd. * 

Drury Mathis, who rcsidi'd at Saluda Old town, on the 
Saluda, in South Carolina, some two and a halt" mih-s above 
Iho mouth ot" I.iltk; river, hail uniteil his lorlunes w ith Fer- 
guson. In the third charge w hich was made against Camp- 
bell s men, INIathis was badly wounded, and fell to the 
ground. ''I"'he spot when- he had fallen was halfway down 
the mountain, wlu're the balls iVom the Virginians fell 
around him almost as thick as hail. He used to relate, Uuit 
as the mountaineers passed o\er him, he would play 
possum ; hut he could plainly observe their faces and eyes; 
and to him those bold, brave riflemen appeared like so 
main' devils from the infernal regions, so full of excitement 
were they as they dartetl like enraged lions up the mount- 
ain, lie said they were the most powerful looking men he 
ever beheld ; not over-burdened w ith lat, but tall, raw-boned, 
and sinewy, with long matted hair — such men, as a body, 
as were never before seen in the Carolinas. With his feet 
down the declivity, he said he could not but observe that 
his Loyalist friends were ver}' generally over-shooting the 
Americans ; and that if ever a poor fellow hugged mother 
earth closely, he did on that tr3ing occasion. After the battle 
— the next day, probably — he was kindly taken to a house in 
that region, and nursed till his wound had healed, when he 
returned to Ninety-Six, an humbled, if not a wiser man. 
He liveil to enjo\- a green old age ; but used stoutly to swear 
that he never desired to see King's Mountain again. \ 

Thomas Mullineaux, a youth, lived with his mother, 
some two miles from the mountain. He used to relate, in 
his old age, that when the firing began, his mother and the 
family were sitting down to a late dinner. Presently a 
neighboring woman came running in, wringing her hands, 

*MS. letters of Colonel J. R. Logan, Dr. W. J. T. Miller, Hardin; Hunter's 
Sketches. 311 ; Moore's Lacey, 18; The Carolinian, Hickory, North Carolina, Oct. ist, 1880, 
■j- MS. papers of Dr, John H. Logan. 





iuul uttoring her doop himentalions over iho dangers sur- 
rounding her son, who had enUsted under tlie banners of 
Ferguson. Alter the thing had, at length, ceased, and 
all was still again, as if nothing had occurred to disturb the 
peace that had brooded over the mountain from time 
immemorial, the poor woman hastened, with a heaw heart. 
accompanied by young Mullineaux, to the scent' of action. 
Turning up the faces of the dead and wounded Tories, 
scattered along the sides, and upon the crest (->{ tlie moim- 
tain, she at length discovered the gory body of lu'r son 
pierced by a rille ball. It was a heart-rending scene.* 

The fatality of the sharp-shooters at King's Mountain 
almost surpasses belief. Riilemen took oil' rillemen with 
such exactness, that tliey killed each other when taking 
sight, so instantaneously that their eyes remained, after 
they were dead, one slinl and the other open — in tlie usual 
manner of marksmen when leveling at their object. f Wil- 
k'nson, in his Jfen/o//s, refers to " the Southern States, rent 
by civil feuds, bleeding by the hands of brothers ; " and cites 
an incident in point at King's Mountain, related to him by 
Colonel Shelby, '■' that t:ro hrothers, expert riflemen, -were 
seen to present at each other, to fire ami J'ali at the same 
instant — their names were given to me, but they have 
escaped mv memory." \ 

It is not improbable that these two brothers who con- 
fronted and killed each other, as related by Colonel Slu-lby, 
were of the Goforth family, of Rutherford County, North 
Carolina. At least, four brothers — Preston Goforth on the 
Whig side, and John Goforth and two others in the Tory 
ranks — all participated in the battle, and all were killed. 
It was ;: remarkable fatality. § 

Another instance of brother killing a brother, during the 
engagement, is thus related : A Whig soldier noticed a 

*Dr. J. H. Logan's manuRcripts. 

f I,amt)'s/<iKr«rt/. 308. 

J Wilkiiisdti's Memoirs, i, 11^. 

g MS. Correspoiulcnce oT \V. L. Twitty. 



good (leal of exocution in a particular part of his line from a 

certain direction on the other side 


n close observation, 

he discovered that the fatal firiui;' on the part of Ferguson's 
men, proceeded from behiml a hollow chestnut tree, and 
t/irou<>ha/io/cinif. He concluded to make an etl'ort to 
silence that battery, and aimed liis rifle shots repeatedly at 
the aperture. At length the liring from that quarter ceased. 
After the batUe, his curiosity prompteil him io examine the 
place, and discovereil that he had killed one of his own 
brothers, and wounded another, who had joined the Loyalist 
forces, and concealed themselves in tlu> rear of this tree. 
So much dill the patriot brother taki' the circumstance to 
heart, that he became almost deranged in consequence.* 

There were four brothers, all of Lincoln County, North 
Carolina, who shared in the battle — William and Joseph 
Logan, on the Whig side, and John and Tliomas Logan 
amon<; Ferijfuson's forces. William Logan belongeil to 
Mattocks company, and was close by his Captain wlu-n he 
fell — the fatal ball having passed a hollow dead clu'stnut 
tree. Joseph Logan, the other Whig brother, was a IJaptist 
preacher; and, during the iMigagement, he, with a Presby- 
terian minister, wrestled with tlu' Lord in prayer, as in 
olden times, to stay up the hands of their friends. Thomas 
Logan, one of the Tor}- brothers, hail his thigh badly 
broken, and was lel't on the Held of battle; while liis 
brother, J(>hn Logan, was taken among the prisoners, and 
afterwards died a pauper. f These political divisions in 
families, which were not unfrequent, were exceedingl}'' 
unpleasant, engendering much bitterness and animosity. 




*Rcv, F,. R. Uoikwoll, iif Cool Spriii;;. Nortli CiiroliiKi, in Ilistotical M,\i'-,iziiir, 
ScptcMiilier, 18(17, !'• 'S'- 

T MS. CorrcspomliMico of Colonel J. R I.ogan. His Kraiulfathcr, William l.iM;;m, wlio 
shared in tlie glories of King's Mountain, was a native of Virginia, born in i;.).), ilesrcml- 
ing from Scotch-Irish ancestry. Itefore the war, he niarrieil Jane lilack, .tml settlei! in 
Lincoln Innnty, North Carolina He did giod service at Kinj^'s Monnt.iin, and rendered 
himself useful during the lontinuance of the contest, for whic h in his ailvanccd yc;irs he 
drew a iiciision. After the war h.' settled on main Ilnffalo creek, on the lionler of Vork 
County, South Carolina, where he died in i8v'. at the ai;e of tii;lity-lhree years, having 
dropped deail in the (icld while foedini; his cattle. lie left five sons .uul two daughters, and 
was long a worthy nicmhcr of the H.ip'i u church. 




In the morning, after the battle, a man \vas discovered 
on the top of the mountain — one of the Tories, it is beUeved 
— with a bullet hole through his head, a rifle ball having 
entered his forehead, and passed out at the back part of his 
cranium ; and strange to say, he was still alive, and sitting 
in an upright posture on the ground. Some of his brains 
had oozed out on either side of his head ; and though 
unconscious, he was yet breathing. It was proposed by 
those who saw him, that they would gently lay him down ; 
and, on doing so, he instantl}' expired.* 

On Sabbath morning, October the eighth, the sun shone 
brightly, the first time in several days, and the patriots 
were early astir — prompted thereto by two very pressing 
motives. One was, that they might get on their return 
route as quickly as possible, to secure a mich needed sup- 
plv of provisions ; the other to hasten beyond the reach ot 
the dreaded Colonel Tarleton, an encounter with whom 
was ver\' undesirable, encumbered as they were \\ith so 
many prisoners, and the necessary care and convcNance of 
their own wounded. Seventeen baggage wagons were, 
according to Colonel Shelby's letter to his father, among 
the trophies of victory ; and these, says Ramsey's Tennes- 
see, were drawn by the men across their camp-fires and 
consumed. To have attempted to carry them along, would 
have retarded their march over a rough countr}- ; and the 
wounded could be best borne on the journey on horse-litters, 
by fastening two long poles on either side of two horses at 
tandem, leaving a space of six or eight feet between them, 
stretching tent-cloth or blankets between the poles, on which 
to place a disabled ofllcer or soldier. 

In rambling that morning among the Tory wounded, 
who lay scattered about — all who could had crept to the 
branch to quench their raging thirst — James Gray, of the 
Rutherford troops, tiiscovered an old acquaintance wounded 

■^J. L. Gray's MS. narrative, derived from James Gray, one of the King's Mountain 

-II ill 



in the ankle, and unable to walk, Gra}' was fully aware, 
that the inifortunate man was not one of those disrepu- 
table Tories who had joined the King's standard, like 
Plundering Sam Brown, simply for the sake of being 
protected in rapine and plunder. Tie had joined Fergu- 
son from conscientious motives, believing it his duty 
to fight for the Royal Government. Gray feeling kindly 
towards his old friend, took out his pocket-hantlkerchief, 
bound up his broken limb, and did whatever else he could 
to ameliorate his unhappv condition. Nor was this kind- 
ness tl'.rown away. Recovering from his wound, the 
Loyalist became a useful citizen to his country ; and, as 
long as he lived, he manifested the strongest friendship for 
Gray, who had shown him compassion in the day of his 

distress. * 

Among the prisoners. Colonel Shelb}^ discovered some 

officers who had fought under his banner, a few weeks pre- 
viously, at Musgrove's Mill. They declared that they had 
been forced to join Ferguson, or fare worse ; and when 
their cases had been inquired into, and their representations 
found to be correct, their misfortunes were commisserated, 
and they were henceforth regarded as friends, f Here a 
woman was liberated from captivity, who had been taken pris- 
oner in Burke County during Colonel Ferguson's inva- 
sion of that region in the mondi preceding. She was a regu- 
lar termagant — especially excited bv the presence of Tories, 
and in tliis instance, her ire had probably been provoked 
by the reckless plunder of her property, and she had appar- 
ently been ajiprehended because she gave them a piece of 
her tongue, in a manner quite too loose and reckless to suit 
the fastidious notions of his Majesty's representatives in the 
backwoods of America. \ Once again free in body, as her 
unruly member alwavs had been, she reneweill}' indulged 
her propensity, we may well judge, of saying ugly things 
of Ferjxuson and his men to her heart's content. 




*J. L. Gray's MS. stMement, and Rutht-rford Enquirer, May 24, 1859. 

•f Shelby, in /lOTcr»Vrt« f!e7<ie:i\ Iliciniljer, 1848. 

} MS. statement of W. L. Twitty, derived from Colonel W. H. Miller. 



!['l ' 

'm ' 

11 'i 



Earlj' that morning, Colonel Campbell ordered two of 
his men, William Snodgrass and Edward Smith, to return 
on the route on which the army had advanced, so as to 
meet the party of footmen, and prevent their further 
approach in the direction of King's Mountain. Declining 
a guard, because, as the messengers said, the patriots already 
had the whole population of that region, either as soldiers 
or prisoners, they went on, without any mishap or adventure, 
to Broad ri\'er — apparently at the Cherokee Ford — where 
they met their countrymen. They imparted to them the 
iovful tidings of victory, and turned their course, in 
obedience to orders, up the stream. * 

According to the official report of Colonel Camjibell 
and associates, fifteen hundred stand of arms were cap- 
tured ; but in Colonel Shelby's letter to his fadier, written 
five davs after the battle, twelve hundred is the number 
stated — and a portion of these were supernumerar}^ designed 
for new recruits. " The prisoners," says Shelby, " were 
made to carry their own arms, as they could not have been 
carried in any other way." The flints were taken from the 
locks ; and, to the more strong and health}' Tories, two guns 
each were assigned for conveyance. When ready to start 
on the day's journey, the prisoners were marched, in single 
file, by the spot where the rifles and muskets were stacked, 
and each was directed to shoulder and carry the arms 
allotted to him. Colonel Shelby, with his sword drawn, 
stood by, among others, to see that the order was strictly 
obeyed. One old fellow came toddling by, and evinced a 
determination not to encumber himself with a gun. Shelby 
sternly ordered him to shoulder one without delay. The 
old man demurred, declaring he was not able to carry it. 
Shelby told him, with a curse, that he was able to bring 
one there, and he should carry one away ; and, at the same 
time gave him a smart slap across his shoulders with the 
flat side of his sword-blade. The old fellow, discovering 

* MS. letter of \Vm. Snodgrass to Ex-Governor David Campbell, August 15th, 1S42. 





that he could not trifle witli such a man as Slielby, jumped 
at the gun-pile, shouldered one, and marched away in 
double-quick time. * 

There were not a few other articles, military and per- 
sonal, that fell into the hands of the victors. These seem 
to have been retained by those who possessed themselves of 
them — as the troops, be it remembered, had not engaged in 
the service by any order of Congress, or of their respective 
States. It was entirelv a volunteer movement — no bajf^age- 
wagons, no commissaries, no pay, and no supplies. General 
Lenoir adds, that by the victory of King's Mountain, " many 
militia ofllcers procured swords who could not possibly get 
any before ; neither was it possible to procure a good sup- 
ply of ammunition." 

If the soldiers, who had inarched so far and suffered so 
much, in order to meet and conquer Ferguson and his arm}-, 
were not unwilling to appropriate to Uieir own use the 
trophies of victory, there is at least one recorded instance 
in which a sturdy Whig woman of the country refused 
to profit by the spoils of war. Two brothers, Moses and 
James Henry, of the Lincoln troops, residing in what is 
now Gaston County, fought bravely in the battle ; Moses 
Henry sealing his devotion to his country with his life's 
blood — dN'ing, not long thereafter, in the hospital at Char- 
lotte, of the wound he received in the action. I lis brother, 
James Henry, while passing through the woods near the 
scene of the conflict, a few days after the engagement, 
found a very fine horse, handsomely equipped with an 
elegant saddle, the reins of the bridle being broken. The 
horse and equipments had belonged, as he supposed, to 
some oflker of the enemy. He took the animal home with 
him, greatly elated with his good luck ; but his patriotic 
mother meeting him at the gate, immediately inquired whose 
horse it was? He replied, that he judged that it had be- 

'^■Slielby's narrative in the American Kniii-w; Ramsey's Tennessee, 242; General 
Lenoir's statement; T. L. Gray's MSS. ; Rutherford Enquirer, May 24th, 1859. 



longed to some British oflicor. " Jumes," said the mother, 
sternly, '* turn it loose, and drive it olV the place, tor I will 
not have the hands of my household soiled with British 
phnuler."' Colonel Moses Henry Hand, a wortliy citizen 
of Gaston Count}', is a grandson of Moses Henry who was 
mortally wounded at King's Mountain. * 

At length the patriot army was ready to commence its 
long and tedious return march, encumbered with their 
wt)unded, and over six hundred prisoners. A report was 
prevalent tluit morning, that Tarleton's cavalry was press- 
ing on, and would attempt to rescue the prisoners,! and 
indict punishment upon the audacious mountaineers ; but 
while it was only camp rumor, brought in by people from 
the surrounding countr}', whose curiosity had prompted 
them to visit the battle-field, yet the Whig leaders deemed 
it wise to waste no time unnecessarily. Much of the morn- 
ing had been consumed in preparing litters for the wounded. 

When the army marched, some ten o'clock in the fore- 
noon, Colonel Campbell '"emained behind with a party of 
men to burv their unfortunate countrymen.! The British 
Lieutenant Allaire states, that before the troops moved, 
orders were given to his men by Colonel Campbell, that 
should they be attacked on the march, to fire on and destroy 
the prisoners. We have no means of determining whether 
such orders were given on the supposition of Tarleton's pos- 
sible pursuit, and attempt to rescue the captives : or it may 
be, if there was any foundation for the statement, it was 
made in a modified form. 

A place of sepulture was selected, upon a small eleva- 
tion, some eighty or a hundred yards south-east of Fergu- 
son's head-quarters ; large pits were dug, and a number of 
the slain placed together, with blankets thrown over them, 
and thus hurriedly buried. § Tarleton asserts, on some 

* Hunter's Sketches, pp. 296-97. 

+ MS. letter of Wm, Snodgr.iss to Governor Campbell; Mills' Statistics, J79 ', conver- 
sations with Sil.15 Moike .mil John Spelts, survivors of the b.ittle. 
] St.Ttement of Joseph Phillips, one of Clevel.'ind's men. 
§ MS. letters of Wm. Snodgrass and John Craig, of CarnDbell's regiment. 

B; i 



reports he liad lioard, tliat the mountaineers used every 
insult and indignity towards the dead body of Ferguson ; * 
and Hanger, an officer at that time in Tarleton's corps, 
dechires that such was the inveteracy of the Americans 
against the British leader, that while they buried all the 
other bodies, they stripped Ferguson's of its clothes, and 
left it naked on the Held of battle, to be devoured by the 
turkey-buzzards of the countr}-. f 

Colonel Ferguson's biographer repeats the statement 
that his body was stripped, and his surviving comrades 
were denied the privilege of bestowing upon his remains 
the honors of a soldier's burial ; but that the neighboring 
people subsequently accorded to him a decent interment. X 
Mills, in his Slufistics of South Carolhicu remarks, that 
the victors, dreading the arrival of Tarleton, "hastened from 
the scene of action ; nor durst the}- atten. to the burial of 
the dead, or to take care of the woundeci, man}- of whom 
were seen ujion the ground, two days after the battle, 
imploring a little water to cool their burning tongues ; but 
they were left to perish there, and tliis long hill was 
whitened with their bones." 

That Ferguson's elegant clothing, under his duster or 
hunting-shirt, ma}'^ have been taken, and that even some 
indignities may have been shown by an excited soldiery, 
towards the British leader's lifeless body, is quite possible ; 
if so, it is strange that two ofllcers of his corps, much 
devot 'd to him, Lieutenant Allaire and Captain Ryerson, 
should make no mention of any such circumstance in 
their narratives of King's Mountain battle. At all events, 
when Colonel Campbell detailed a party of his troops 
to remain behind to burv the American dead, he directed 
a number of the British prisoners to dig pits for the 
interment of their fallen companions, and at the same 

* Tarleton's Camfiaigns. quarto etlition, 165. 
f Hanger's Life ami Opinions, ii, 406. 
J Dr. Ferguson's Memoir, 35. 


I' ' 

I' -' 




time, detained Doctor Johnson to attend to the wounded of 
the enein\- before his tinal departure.* That the grave-pits 
were sliallow, and the work of .st-puUnre liastily performed, 
is very HkeU-, for tlie reception of both the American and 
British remains ; but all was undoiibtedlx' done that well 
could be, under the circumstances, with such limited facil- 
ties as they possessed, and in their half-starved condition, 
and, witlial, threatened, as they supposed, with a visit from 
Tarleton's Legion. The British dead were interred in two 
pits — one a very large one, probably where the Tories were 
laid, side by side; the other, a smaller one, where doubt- 
less the men of Ferguson's corps were buried. f 

The wolves of the surrounding countrv were soon 
attracted to the spot by the smell of flesh and blood ; and 
for several weeks they revelled upon the carcasses of the 
slain — some of which had been overlooked and left un- 
buried, while others were scratched out of their shallow 
graves by these prowlers of the wiltferness. Vultures and 
wolves divided the human plunder ; and so bold and 
audacious did the latter grow, gorging on flesh, that they, 
in some instances, showed a disposition to attack the living, 
when visiting the scene of the battle. And long after the 

war, it is said, that King's Mountain was the favorite resort 


of the wolf-hunter ■*■ 

'■' MS. letter of Wm. Snodgrass to Governor Campbell, August 15th. 1843; Rcnjamin 
Sharp's statement in the American Pioneer. These acts of kindness on the part of Colonel 
Campbell, cfTectiially disprove the supposition of Carrington. in his Battles of the Revo- 
lution, tli.ii the Tory wo\indcd were deliberately slaughtered by the victorious patriots, 

■j-MS. correspondence of Abraham Hardin, 

1 Doctor Logan's MSS, and his Ifistory 0/ i//>/>,r Sjtttk Carolina, 63 ; MS. corres- 
pondence of Colonel J. R. Logan; Mills' Statistics, 779. 

It may be added, in this connection, that in 1S15, through the instrumentality of Doctor 
William McLean, of Linc-iln County, North Carolina, a day was set ajiart, and the 
scattered luiman bones on the mountain, dragged away from their firmer resting places by 
the voracious wolves were collected together, and re-interred; and the old nioriunient or 
head-stone of dark slate rock erected at the expense of Doctor McLean, who delivered 
a suitable address on the occ.ision. The monnment bears this inscription: f)n the east 
side — "Sacred to the memory of M d >r Will' im ChronicK', Captain John Mattocks, William 
Robb, and John Boyd, who were killed at this place on the 7th of October, i7?i, figbling 
in defence of America, ' On the west side: "Colonel Ferguson, an ollicer of his 
Hritannic .Majesty, was defeated and killed at this place, on the 7th of October. 1780," — 
Mills' Statistics, 779; Hunter's .y^Wt/«rj, pp. 289, 311; MS. correspondence of Abraham 



When the army took up its line of march, strongly 
guarding tlicir prisoners, the tenderest possible care was 
bestowed on the sull'ering wounded, conveyed on the horse- 
litters — and of none more so than on the heroic Colonel 
Williams. In the early part of the afternoon, when about 
three miles south-west of the battle ground, on the route 
towards Deer's Ferry on Broad river, the little guard having 
him in charge, discovering that life was fast ebbing away, 
stopped by the road-side at Jacob Randall's place, since long 
the homestead of Abraham Ilardin, where he quietly 
breathed his last. His death was a matter of sincere grief to 
the whole army. His friends resolved, at lirst, to carry his 
remains to his old home, near Little river, in Laurens 
County ; but soon after changed this determination. March- 
ing some twelve miles from the battle ground, they en- 
camped that night near the eastern bank of Broad river, 
and a little north of Buffalo creek, on the road leading to 
North Carolina, and witliin two or three miles of Boren's or 
Bowen's river and known also as Camp's creek. Here 
at the deserted plantation of a Tory named Waldron as 
Allaire has it — or Fondren, as Silas McBee remembered 
the name* — they found good camping ground, with plenty 
of drj^ rails and poles for their evening fires, and happily 
a sweet potato patch sufficiently large to supply the whole 

"This," says Benjamin Sharp, "was most fortunate, 
for not one in fifty of us had tasted food for the last two 
days and nights — since we left the Cowpens." During the 
evening Colonel Campbell and party rejoined the patriots ; 
and the footmen arrived whom they had left at the ford of 
Green river, and who had made commendable progress in 
following so closel}^ upon the mounted advance ; and who 

*Col. J. R. Logan fully corroborates McDie's statement— that in-.tead of Waldron, as 
Allaire has it, the name of the owner of the plantation where Williams was buried, was 
Matthew Fondren, connected \>-ith the (^iiinns of that region — so states Mrs. Margaret 
Roberts, vee Qninn. now nearly ninety years of age, and reared in that locality. I'ondren 
was subsequently thrown from a chair or gig. and killed. 



( .. t« 

-■^ '1 --*'■■ 




had, moreover, the good fortune to secure a teinporar}' 
supply of food — live beef cattle, probably ; so that the 
hungry mountaineers, almost famished, now enjoyed a 
happy repast.* 

The next morning, for want of suitable conveyance, the 
friends of Colonel Williams concluded to bury his remains 
were they were. They were accordingly interred with the 
honors of war, between the camp of the patriots and the 
river, a little above the mouth of Buffalo creek — on what 
was long known as the Fondrcn, then the old Carnith 
place, now belonging to Captain J. B. Mintz.f Having 
performed this touching service, and fired a parting volley 
over the newly made grave of one of the noted heroes of 
the war of independence, the army, late in the day, 
renewed its line of march apparent!}' up Broad river ; and 
alter passing what Allaire calls Bullock's creek, but what 
is evidently Borcn's river they took up quarters for the 
pight on its northern bank, having accomplished only two 
and a half miles. Beside the burial of Colonel Williams, 
the precarious condition of the wounded, probably, re- 
tarded the progress of this day's march, and time was 
needed for recuperation. 

Tuesda}'-, the tenth, was a busy day. The course pur- 
sued would seem to have been still up main Brord river, 
crossing First Broad and Sandy run, in a north-westerly 
direction, towards Gilbert Town, and camping in the woods 
that night, probably not very far from Second Broad 
river, after having accomplished a march of twenty 
miles. An incident occurred on this part of the route, 

'■' Snodt;rnss MS. letter to Oovprnor Campbell; Sharp's n.irrative ; General Lenoir's 
statement; Allaire's MS. Dinry : and conversations with McHee. 

V MS. correspondence of Colonel J. R. Logan and Abraham Hardin. Colonel Logan 
adds, that he learned from Captain Mintz that a tradition had been handed down tb:U 
Coliinel Williams was buried in that neighborhood, and no little pains had been taken to 
identify the grave by various people, and even by some of Colonel Williams' descendants, 
but without success. At length Captain Mintz employed some men to shrub offa field 
long OTergrown, and requested them to watch for the long-forgotten grave ; and sure enough, 
they found a grave with a bead and foot stone composed of a different kind of rock from 
those abounding there, and well overgrown with grape vines. Though there was no in- 
scription on the head-stone, there is no doubt it is the grave of "Old King's Mountain Jim." 





worth}' of notice. Among the prisoners were six brotliers 
named Gage, who had joini>d Ferguson in coiisecjuence of 
the Tory influences surroutuhng them. During the second 
day's march, one of the Gages was taken ill, when the 
ofllcer of the day, who probably could not proN'ide any 
means for his conveyance, and possibly surmising Uiat he 
was feigning sickness, in order to seek an ojiportuniiy to 
escape, or delay the Whigs so that Tarleton migiu overtake 
them, urged the sick prisoner to keep pace with the others. 
His brothers, to save him from possible calamity, took turns 
in carrying him on their backs ; and they adopted the plan 
of availing themselves of their peculiar situation to lag as 
much behind as possible, with a view of taking advantage 
of the ih'st considerable stream they should have occasion ♦o 
pass, in the night, to fall down in the water, and suflei tne 
rear guard to ride over them. Their scheme succeeded, 
and they thus escaped in the darkness unobserved.* T'he 
Whigs kept up their march of evenings, so long as Uiey 
thought it necessary to place themselves beyond the reach 
of liritish pursuit. 

During Wednesday, the eleventh, the army marched 
twelve miles, and encamped at Colonel John Walker's, 
according to Allaire's IJ/'arv. Colonel Walker, one of the 
prominent Whig leaders of the country, resided some five 
rriiles north-east of Gilbert Town, on the east side of Cane 
creek, half a mile above its mouth, and a mile below the 
present Brittain church. f There seems to have been 

'■"Conversations witli Henjriinin Starritt, in iS.(3, 

tColuncl Walker was luirti on Ilolieniia (reek. N'ew Castle County, Delaware, in 1728. 
When j;rown. he settled on tlic South llranch of Potomac. Hampshire County. Virginia, 
where he marricil Klizabelh Watson. He served as a volunteer under Colonel Washington, 
and shared in ISraddock's disastrous defeat in 1755. He shortly after removed to North 
Carolina, settling first on Leepcr's Creek, in now Lincoln County, and served on Colonel 
Grant's campaign against the Cherokees in 1761. He subsequently located on Crowder's 
Creek ; and, in 176S, at the month of Cane Creek, where he purchased a fine tract of four 
hundred acres for a doubloon. He was a man of marked character and prominence, hold- 
ing several commissions under the Colonial Government — Colonel Con\mandant of Tryon 
County, and Judge of the Court for many years. On the breakin;: out of the Revolution, 
sharing in the sympathies of the penjile, he resijjned his Loyal olh^es, and was among the 
foremost in signing the Articles of Association, pledging resistance to British encroaclinients. 


rill • 

1: ! 

Hi i 1 


[i ■'■ !i 

,5:; i 
■M t 






individual cases of sava<fo severity, even to murder, exer- 
cised towards the prisoners. Colonel Brandon, a rough, 
impulsive Irisliman, discovering that one of the Tories, who 
had been carrying a couple of the captured guns, had 
dodged into a hollow sycamore In- the road-side, dragged 
him from his hiding place, and completely hacked him to 
pieces with his sword.* Hints and innuendoes have been 
occasionally thrown out against Colonel Campbell himself 
as guilty of heartless cruelty to tlu! Tory prisoners ; f but 
the following extract from his (rciicral Order, at the camp 
below Gilbert Town, October eleventh, i7iSo, probably in 
the early part of the day, should be a complete vindication 
of his memory and good name from such a charge: "I 
must," he said, "request tlie ollicers of all ranks in the 
army to endea\or to restrain the disorderly manner of 
slaughtering and disturbing the prisoners. If it cannot be 
prevented by moderate measures, such ellectual punishment 
shall be executed upon delinquents as will put a stop to it." \ 
It would appear that the army, on its march this day, 
passed through Gilbert Town ; and resting there awhile, 
the prisoners were placed in a pen, in which Ferguson, 
when stationed there, had confmed captured Whigs. When 
the British held full swa}' in that quarter, a Tory woman 
there was asked what tlie leaders were going to do w ith 
their Rebel prisoners in the bull-pen? "We are going," 
she tartly replied, "to hang all the d — dold Rebels, and take 
their wives, scrape their tongues, rmd let them go." This 

in August, 1775; and. the same month, served as a member of the Convention at Hillsl)oro. 
His sons took an active part in the war, one of whom, Feli.\ Walker, represented Ruther- 
ford County seven years in the House of Commons, and six in Congress. Colonel Walker, 
in 1787, removed to the mouth of Green river, in Rutherford County, where he died 
January isth. 1796, in his sixty-eighth year. He was one of the pioneer fathers of Western 
C;irolina. For most of the facts in this note, we al:know!l.•d^;e our imlubtcdness to tin' 
Mijiwirs 0/ Hon. Felix M'alker. edited by his Rrandson, Samuel R Walker. 

* Conversations with the late Dr. A. Q. liradley, who had this incident from one of 
Brandon's men. 

T Statements of Henry Ulcvins. John I-ang and Jacob Isely. appended to Shelby's 
King's Mount.iin pamphlet. 1823; and W \. Henderson's published Lecture on Governor 
John Sevier at Kno.wille, Tennessee, in January. 1873. 

J Copied from the original, furnished by General John S. freston ; Bancroft, x, 340. 



same Loyiilist huly, nowwluMi llu- ch;ini^os dflortune had so 
siulilciily reversed matters, a^aiii visited tlie prison-pen, 
where her husband, wiio had joined Fer^aison's forces, was 
ainon<f those in conlinenient ; .ind, with eyes lilk-d with 
tears, touchiuLjly inquired of' James Gray, one of the 
guard, ''What are you Whigs going to do with tliese 
poor telh)ws? " Retorting in her own shmg hmguage, to 
annoy and liumble lier, he repHed : " We are going to liang 
all the d — d old Tories, and take their wives, scrape their 
tongues, and let them go." This severe response com- 
pletely confounded the termagant, against whose friends 
and cause the battle liad gone, and she silently retired.* 

Remaining in camp at Walker's during Thursday, the 
twelfth, the baggage of the British leaders was divided 
among the Whig officers, save a small portion granted to 
Captain DePeyster and his associates for a change. Colonel 
Shelby, referring to the tardy movements of the troops, 
observes : " Owing to the number of wounded, and the des- 
titution of the army of all conveyances, they traveled 
slowly, and in one week had only marched about forty 
miles." t Another trying circumstance was, that in conse- 
quence of the contending armies having eidier occupied, or 
repeatedl}' tniv^ersed, this sparsely settled region, during the 
preceding two or three months, the people were completely 

*^fS. statement of J. L. Gray, derived from his grandfather, James (>ray; Rutherford 
Enquirer,. May 24th, 1859. 

James Gray, whu (^ciierously bound up. witli his handkerchief, the broken ankle of a 
Tory acquaintance at King's Mountain, and treated the Tory woman with a touch of his 
bitinjj sarcasm, was a worthy Revolutionary soldier. He was born in Augusta County, 
Virginia, in 1755, and settled in Tryon, since Rutherford County, North Carolina, prior to 
the Revolution. He served throughout the war, a part of the time in Captain Miller's com- 
pany. He took part in Rutherford's campaign against the Cherokees in 1776; in the fight 
at Karle's on North Pacolet ; in chasing Dunlap to I'rince's Fort; and was in Captain 
Edward Hampton's company at the capture of Fort Anderson, on Thicketty creek. It 
was, as he used to relate, a matter of great satisfaction to him. that he aided in capturing 
at King's NFountain some of his Tory acquaintances who had formerly pursued him when 
unable to defend himself. He served in Captain Inman'^ company at the siege of Ninety 
Six. in 1781 ; and not long after was appointed a Captain, and guarded the stations at 
Earle's, Russell's, Waddlctons and White Oak. Captain Gray lived to enjoy a pension, 
and died in Riit'i.^'rford County. October stst, iOj6. at the good old age of eighty-one years. 

\ American Review, December. 1848. 


In ^ 


■I , 

^ 1 



stripped of provisions, and both the patriots and their pris- 
oners sullered greatly lor want of the necessaries of Hfe. 
"The party," says the British Lieutenant AUaire, "was 
kept marching two vlays without any kind of provisions." 
Tliomas You'.ig, in his narrdtive, refers to the army 
arriving on Cane creek with the prisoners, "where," he adds, 
'•we all came near starving to death. The countr}- was 
very thinly settled, and provisions could not be had for love 
Or money. I thought green pumpkins, sliced and fried, 
about the sweetest eating I ever had in my life. " * The poor 
prisoners fared worse, for their food was uncooked. When 
camped for the night, they were fed, while surrounded by a 
cordon-guard, like so many farmers swine — corn upon the 
car, and raw pumpkins, being thrown to them, which the 
hungry fellows would seize with avidity, f To expedite the 
march of the army. Colonel Campbell issued an order on 
the thirteenth, while yet encamped at Walker's place, 
directing that all the wounded who were not able to march 
with the army, should be billeted in the best manner pos- 
sible, the several companies to which they belonged provid- 
ing the necessary assistance for their removal to places 
selected for them. * This was probably int-nided to ligluen 
the army of a part of its encumbrance ; but we judge, it was 
found impra< ticable in that setdement, in consequence of 
the scarcity of proxisions. Thatda}^ according to Allaire's 
Diary, the troops moved, with their prisoners, 'Cwv. or six 
miles, north-east of Walker's to Bickerstaff's, or Bigger- 
stafT's Old Fields, since known as the Red Chimneys, where 
a stack of chimneys long stood alter the house had deca}ed 
and been demolished. This locality is on Robertson's 
creek, some nine miles north-east of the present village of 

''Orion Magazine. Octubcr, 1843. 

f Conversations with Joiin Spelts, an eye-witness to these scenes ; ar J also with Ben- 
jamin Starritt. 

I Colonel Campbell's MS. order, preserved by General Preston. 




October— November, 1780. 

Colonel Cauiphcll PrnoiiitiiS r/iiiiiltrin^-. — Coiiiplnints against Tory 
LfUt/ers. — Their Ontrai^rs on ilw IV/tii^s. — A Court called to Con- 
sider the Matter. — Retaliation for British Executions Demanded. — 
A Law Found to Meet the Case. — Charges against Mills, Gil key, 
and McFall. — Colonel Davenport Noticed. — Number of Tories 
Tried and Condemned. — Case of fames Crawford. — One of the 
Prisoners Released. — Cleveland Favoring Severe Measures. — 
Motives of the Patriots I 'indicated. — Shelby s Explanation. — 
Tories Executed— their Names and Residence. — Paddy Carr's 
Remarks, and A'otice of Ilim. — lialdwin's Singular Escape. — 
Further Executions Stopped. — Tories Subsequently Hung. — Rumor 
of Tarleton's Approach. — ll'higs Hasten to the Catawba. — A Hard 
Days March — -Sufferings of Patriots and Prisoners. — Major Mc- 
Doivell's Kindness. — Mrs. Mc Do-oell' s Treatment of British Ofji- 
ccs. — Some of the Whig Troops Retire. — Disposition of the J I 'ounded. 
— Prisoners Escape — One Re-taken and Hung. — March to the 
Mora-iUan Settlements. — Bob Powell's Challenge. — Ojjicial Account 
of the Battle Prepared. — Campbell and Shelby Visit General Gates. 
— Clei'cland left in Command. — His Trial of Tories. — Escaf)e of 
Green and I.aiigum. — Cleveland Assaults Doctor Johnson. — Colonel 
Armstrong Succeeds to the Command. — Escape of British Officers. 

While encamped at Bickerstair's, on Saturday, the four- 
teenth, Colonel Campbell issued a General Order, cU-^ilor- 
ing the " many deserters from the army," and the felonies 
committed by them on the po\erty-stricken people of the 
country. " It is with anxiety," he adds, "that I hear the 
complaints of the inhabitants on account of tlie plundering 
parties who issue out of the camp, and indiscriminately rob 
both Whig and Tory, leaving our friends, I believe, in a 
worse situation than the enemy would have done:'" and 
appeals to the officers "to exert themselves in suppressing 




l! n 



this abominable practice, degrading to the name of soldiers.'' 
He furtiier orders that none of the troops be discharged, 
till the prisoners can be transferred to a proper guard. * 
But some of the prisoners were soon to be disposed of in a 
manner evident)}^ not anticipated when the order just issued 
was made known to tlie army. 

- During this day, an important occurrence transpired at 
Bickerstaff's. The officers of the two Carolinas united in 
presenting a complaint to Colonel Campbell, that there 
were, among the prisoners, a number who were robbers, 
house-burners, parole-breakers, and assassins. The British 
victory near Camden had made, says General Preston, 
" Cornwallis complete master of South Carolina. This 
power he was using with cruelty, unparalleled in modern 
civilized conquest ; binding down the conquered people 
like malefactors, regarding each Rebel as a condemned 
criminal, and checking every murmur, answering every 
suspicion with the sword and the fire-brand. If a suspected 
Whig fled from his house to escape the insult, the scourge 
or the rope, the myrmidons of Ferguson and Tarleton 
burned it down, and ravished his wife and daughters ; if a 
son refused to betray his parent, he was hung like a dog ; 
if aw'ife refused to tell the hiding-place ol' lar husband, her 
belly was ripped open b)- the butcher-knife of the Tory ; 
and to add double horror and infam}- to the deep damna- 
tion of such deeds, Americans were forced to be the instru- 
ments for perpetrating them. Tiaat which Tarleton (beast, 
murderer, hypocrite, ravisher as he was,) was ashamed to 
do, he had done by Americans — neighbors, kinsmen of his 
victims. I draw no fancy picture — the truth is wilder far 
than the fiibulist's imagination can feign." \ 

Bancroft touching! depicts the sad condition of the 
people, where uncheckvd Toryism had borne sway : " The 
sorrows of children and women,'' he says, "robbed and 

*MS. Order preserved by General Preston, 
t King's Mountain W./rfz-Wf, October, 1855,49. 



wronged, shelterless, stripped of all clothes hut those they 
wore, nestling ahout iires they kindled on the ground, and 
mourning lor their lathers and hushands," were witnessed 
on every hand ; and these helpless suM'erers appealed to all 
hearts for sympathy and prctection. Colonel Camphell, on 
the strength of the complaints made to him, was induced to 
order the convening of a court, to examine fully into the 
matter. The Carolina officers urged, that, if diese men 
should escape, exasperated, as they now were, in con- 
sequence of their humiliating defeat, they would com- 
mit other enormides worse than their former ones.* 
The British leaders had, in a high-hand' d and summary 
manner, hung not a few of the captured patriots at 
Camden, and more recently at Ninety Six, and Augusta ; 
and now that the Whigs had the means of retaliation at 
their command, they began to consider whether it was 
not their duty to exercise it ; thinking, probably, that it 
would have a heaUhful influence upon the Loyalists — that 
the disease of Toryism, in its worst aspects, was disastrous 
in its effects, and heroic treatment had become necessary. 

Colonel Shelby, with others, seems to have taken this 
view of the subject. When the mountaineers " reached 
Gilbert Town," says Shelby, " a week after the battle, they 
were informed by a paroled officer, that he had seen eleven 
patriots hung at Ninety Six a few days before, for being 
Rebels. Similar cruel and uniusdfiable acts had been 
committed before. In the opinion of the patriots, it required 
retaliatory measures to put a stop to these atrocities. A 
copy of the law of North Carolina was obtained, which 
authorized two magistrates to summon a jury, and forthwith 
to try, and, if found guilty, to execute persons who had 
violated its precepts." \ This law providing capital punish- 
ment, must have had reference to those guilty of murder, 
arson, house-breaking, riots, and other criminal offences. 

* Ensign Rolicrt CanipbcH's King's ^{ollnt<1in narrative, 
+ Shelby, in American Kez'icw, December, 1848. 



"Colonel Campbell," sa3's Ensign Campbell, "complied, 
and ordered a court-martial to sit immediately, composed of 
the Held officers and Captains, who were ordered to inquire 
into the complaints which had been made. Tiie court was 
conducted orderh', and witnesses were called and examined 
in each case — the consequence was, tluit tliirl\--t\vo were 
condemned." * 

Under the law as cited by Colonel Shelb}', while the 
tribunal was, no doubt, practically, a court-martial, it was 
nominalh", at least, a civil court, with two presiding justices. 
There was no difficult}^ on this point, for most of the 
North Carolina officers were magistrates at home — Colonel 
Cleveland, and four or five others, of the Wilkes regiment 
alone filling that position. The jury was composed of 
twelve officers — Lieutei^int x\llaire, in his Diar\\ denouncing 
it as " an infamous mock jury." " Under this law," says 
Shelb}', "thirty-six men were tried, and found guilt}' of 
breaking open houses, killing the men, turning the women 
and children out of doors, and burning the houses. The 
trial was concluded late at night; and the execution of the 
law was as summary as the trial." 

How much of the evidence, hurriedlv adduced, was one- 
sided and prejudiced, it is not possible at this late day to 
determine. Colonel Ambrose Mills, the principal person 
of those condemned, was a man of fair reputation, and 
must have been regarded chiefly in the light of being a 
proper and prominent character upon whom to exercise 
retaliatory measures ; and yet it was necessary to make 
some specific charge against him — the only one coming 
down to us, is that relat d by Silas McBee, one of the 
King's Mountain men under Colonel Williams, that Mills 
had, on some former occasion, instigated the Cherokees to 
desolate the frontier of South Carolina, which was very 
likely without foundation. It was proven against Captain 
Walter Gilkey, that he had called at the house of a Whig ; 

''Annals of the Army of Tennfssei\ 1878. 



and inquiring if he was at home, was informed b}' liis son, 
a youth, that he was absent, when the Tory Captain 
immediately drew liis pistol, discharged it, wounding the 
lad in tlie arm, and taking his gun from him. Recovering 
from his wound, this youth was now with the mountaineers, 
and testified against his would-be murderer. Gilkey's aged 
father was present, and otVered in vain his horse, saddle and 
bridle, and a hundred dollars in money, as a ransom for 
his son.* 

Another case somewhat similar to Gilkev's, was that of 
John McFall, a noted Tory leader of Burke Count\'. Head- 
ing a party of mounted Loyalists, McFall dashed up to the 
house of Martin Davenport, on John's river, hoping to 
capture or kill him, as he was a prominent Whig, and had, 
more than once, marched against the Tories, under Colonel 
Cleveland and IMajor McDowell. But they tailed to find 
him, as he was absent in the service. The Tory band vented 
their spleen and- abuse on Mrs. Davenport, and directed her 
to prepare breakfast for them ; and McFall ordered the lad, 
William Davenport, then in his tenth year, to go to the corn 
crib, procure some corn, and feed the horses in the trough 
prepared for such use at the hitchi-.g post. After getting 
their meal, and coming out to start of!', McFall discovered 
that the horses had not been fed, and asked the little fellow 
rouii'hh' whv he had not done as he had bidden him? The 
spirited little Rebel replied: "If you want your horses fed, 
feed them yourself." Flying into a passion, McFall cut a 
switch and whipped him smartly. 

At the trial at BickerstaiT's, when McFall's case was 
reached. Major McDowell, as the proper representa- 
tive of Burke County, whence the culprit hailed, was 
called on to give his testimony- ; when, not probably regard- 
ing McFall's Conduct as deserving of death, he was disposed 

* Conversations with Silas Mcnee; narrative of Knsign Robert Campbell ; MS. corres- 
pondence of W. L. Twitty, as related by the venerable John Gilkey, of Rutherford County, 
N. C, in no way related to his Tory namesake. 




to be lenient towards him. Colonel Cleveland, who, it 
would appear, was one of the presiding justices, had his 
attention attracted from his paper, upon which he was mak- 
ing some notes, bv hearing McFalTs name mentioned, 
now spoke up — ''That man, McFall, went to the house 
of Martin Davenport, one of my best soldiers, when he 
was away from home, lighting for his country, insulted his 
wife, and whipped his child ; and no such man ought to 
be allowed to live."* His fate was scaled by this revela- 
tion : but his brother. Arthur IMcFall, the old hunter of tlie 
mountains, was saved through the kind intervention of Major 
and Captain McDowell, believing, as he had been wounded 
in the arm at King's Mountain, it would admonish him not 
to be found in the future in bad compan}'. f 

Benjamin Sharp represents that the number of Tories 
condemned to the gallows was upwards of forty, Thomas 
Maxwell and Governor David Campbell say thirty-nine, 
Shelby thirty-six. General Lenoir and Ensign Campbell 
thirty-two, while Ramsey's Tennessee, Lieutenant Allaire, 
Benjamin Starritt and others, give the number as thirty. 
Starritt asserts that those upon whom sentence of death had 
been pronounced, were divided into three classes of ten each 

*MS. pension statement of Riclinrd Ballew, of Knox County, Ky., formerly of Burke 
County N C. ; MS. leitors of Hon. J. ('. H.irpor. antl Captain W. \V. Lenoir, who hail 
the particulars from William Davenport liimsulf. Colonel Davenport was born in Culpeper 
County. Virginia, Octoljer i2, 1770 His mother dying about the close of the Revolution 
of small-pox, his father removed to tho mountain region, on Toe river, in now Mitchell 
County ; a hunter's paradise, where he cotdd indulge himself in his favorite occupation 
of hunting, and where his son William killed the last elk ever seen in North Carolina. 
Colonel William Davenport became a man of prominence, representing Burke County in 
the House of Commons in i3oo, and in the Senate in 1802. He possessed an extraordinary 
memory, was a most excellent man ; and was the chief founder of Davenport Female Col- 
lege at I.enoir. He married the widow of Major Charles Gordon, one of the KiTig\ Moun- 
tain heroes; and lived for many years in the Happy Valley of the Yadkin, three and a 
half miles above Fort Defiance, where he died August ig, 1859, in the eighty-ninth year of 
his age. 

•{•MS. coriespor.dcnce of \V. A. McC.ill, F,sq., of McDowell County, N, C, who knew 
.•\rthur McFall very well. He used to speak kindly of the McDowells befriending him, 
and said that Colonel (Cleveland hrid little mercy on Americans who were caut;ht fighting 
with the British, Arthur McFall spent most of his life as a hiintcr in the mountains, 
making his home, when in the settlements, with old acquaintances He was a man after 
Daniel Boone's own heart; and died about the year 1835, on Grassy Creek, at the venerable 
age of between ninety and a hundred years. 



— Colonel Mills heading the Hrst class, and James Crawford 
the second class. It will be remembered that Crawford, 
who lived at the head of French Broad river, belonged to 
Sevier's regiment ; and while at " The Bald " of the Yellow 
Mountain on their outward march, had enticed Samuel 
Chambers, an inexperienced youth, to desert with him, and 
thev gave Ferguson information of the plans and approach 
of the mountaineers. It is said, that when Ferguson had 
taken post on King's Mountain, and a week had elapsed 
since the renegades brought the report, that he had caused 
Crawford to be tried and condemned for briniring false in- 
telliifence ; and the evenin^T of the seventh of Oct(-)ber had 
been set for his execution. However this may have been, 
Colonel Sevier interceded in Crawford's behalf, as he could 
not bear to see his old neighbor and friend sufler an igno- 
minious death, and had him pardoned. He subsequently 
removed to Georgia. Young Chambers' guilt was excused 
on account of his youthfulness. * Judged by the laws of 
war, Crawford was a deserter ; and in view of the inj^uy he 
tried to inflict on the Wliig cause, he as richl}' deserved the 
halter as Andre, and doubtless much more than any of his 
Tory associates. 

As Abram Forney, one of the Lincoln troops, was sur- 
veying the prisoners, through the guard surrounding them, 
he discovered one of his neighbors, who only a short time 
before King's Mountain battle, had been acting with the 
Whigs ; but had been over-persuaded, by some of his Tory 
acquaintances, to join the King's troops. Upon seeing h* n, 
Forney exclaimed — *' Is that you, Simon?" "Yes," he 
replied, quickly, " it is, Abram, and I beg you to get me out 
of this bull-pen ; if you do. I will promise ne\'er to be 
caught in such a scrape again." When it was, accordingly, 
made to appear on the day of trial, that he had been untbrtu- 
nateh' wrought upon by some Tcjr}' neighbors, such a miti- 
gation of his disloyalt}^ was presented as to induce the court 

' MS. notes of conversations with James and George \V. Sevier, and Benjamin Starritt, 


to ovcM-look liis ofience, and set him at liberty. Soon aflor- 
warcls, true to his promise, he joined his former Whig 
comrades, marclied to tlie battle of Guilford, and made a 
good soldier to the end of the war. * 

So far as the evidence goes, Colonel Cleveland was 
probably more active and determined than any other officer 
in bringing about these severe measures ; though Colonel 
Brandon, it was well known, was an inveterate hater of 
Tories ; and Colonel Shelby seems to have aided in lind- 
ing a State law that would meet these cases. It is said 
that Cleveland had previously threatened to hang certain 
Tories whenever he could catch them ; f and Governor 
Rutledgc, shortly after this affair, ascribed to him the chief 
merit of the execution of several " noted horse thieves and 
Tories" taken at King's Mountain. + 

The Southern country was then in a very critical condi- 
tion, and there seemed to be a grave necessity for checking, 
by stern and exemplary punishment, the Tory lawlessness 
that largely over-spread the land, and impressing that 
class with a proper sense of the power and detcrminivtion 
of the Whigs to protect their patriot friends, and punish 
their truiltv enemies. Referring to the action at Bicker- 
staff's. Ensign Campbell well observes: "The officers on 
that occasion acted from an honorable motive to do the 
greatest good in their power ft)r the public service, and to 
check those enormides so frequently committed in the States 
of Nordi and South Carolina at that time, their distress 
being almost unequalled in the annals of the American 
Re\olution." The historian, Bancroft, errs in supposing 
that these execudons were the work of lawless "private 
soldiers." § The complaints against the Tory leaders were 
made by the officers of the western armj- from the two 
Carolinas, and the court and jury were composed exclu- 


* Hunter's Sketches, pp. 266-67. 

f Oordon's .I;;«'>-/V(i« !\c7roliituin,\v., ^66; Mrs. Warren's Revolution, '\\, 2^2, 

J Russell's Magazine, 1857, i, 543. 

g History 0/ the United States, x, 339. 




sively of officers — ami all was done under the form and 
sanction of law. 

While the jurist-historian, Johnson, could have wished 
that the conquerors of Ferguson had been magnanimous, 
and spared these miserable wretches from the gallows, yet 
as an act of justice and public policy he vindicates their 
conduct. Many severe animadversions, he observes, have 
been showered on the brave men who fought at King's 
Mountain for this instance of supposed severity. War, in 
its mildest form, is so full of horrors, Unit the mind recoils 
from vindicating any act that can, in the remotest degree, 
increase its miseries. To these no act contributes more 
than that of retaliation. Hence no act should be \'entured 
upon with more solemn deliberation, and none so proper to 
be confined to a commander-in-chief, or the civil power. 
But tlie brave men who fought in the aP'.iir at King's 
Mountain, arc not to be left loaded with unmerited censure. 

The calmest and most dispassionate reflection upon 
their conduct, on this occasion, will lead to the conviction, 
that if they committed any offence, it was against their own 
country — not against the enemy. That instead of being 
instigated b}' a thirst of blood, they acted .■ jlely with a view 
to put an end to its eft'usion ; and boldly, for this purpose, 
took upon themselves all the dangers that a system of retalia- 
tion could superinduce. The olHcers of the American army, 
who, twelve months afterwards, hazarded their lives by 
calling upon their General to avenge the death of Ilayne, 
justly challenge the gratitude and admiration of their 
country; but the men of King's Mountain (for it is avowed 
as a popular act, and not that of their chief alone), merit 
the additional reputation of having assumed on themselves 
the entire responsibility, without wishing to involve the 
regular ;.• ny in their dangers. And this was done in the 
plenitude of British triumph, and when not a man of them 
could count on safety for an hour, in anvthin<; but his own 
bravery and \igilance. 

K' \:-\ 





i I 



But what was the prospect before them? They were 
all proscribed men ; the measures of Lord CornwalHs had 
put them out of the protection of civilized warfare; and the 
spirit in which his proclamations ami instructions were 
executed by his ollicers, had put them oul of the protection 
of common humanity. The massacres at Camden had 
occurred not six weeks before, and those of Brow ne. at 
Augusta, scarcely half that time. Could they look on and 
see this system of cruelty prosecuted, and not try the 
only melanchol}' measure that could check it? The eflect 
proved that there was as much of rellection as of passion in 
the act ; for the little despots who then held the country, 
dared prosecute the measure no farther. Another and an 
incontestible proof that blind revenge did not preside over 
the counsels that consigned these men to death, is drawn 
from the deliberation with which the}' were selected, and 
the mildness manifested to the residue of the prisom-rs. 

It has been before observed, that, in the ranks of Col- 
onel Ferguson, there were many individuals notorious as 
habitual plunderers and murderers. What was to be done 
with these? There were no courts of justice to punish their 
oflences;* and, to d«."tain them as prisoners of war, was to 
make them objects of exchange. Should sucli pests to 
society be again enlarged, and su(Tered to renew their out- 
rages? Capture in arms does not exempt the deserter from 
the gallows; why should it the cold-blooded murderer? 
There was no alternative left ; and the officers, with all the 
attention to form that circumstances would permit, and 
more — a great deal, it is believed — dian either Browne or 

*Such was the distractian of the times, that Smith Carolina, during the period of 
1780-S1, without a civil government, Governor Kiiilcdge having been conipelled to 
retire from tlie State, and the Lieutenant Governor and some of the Council were ])risoners 
of war. Nor during a portion of the war did North Carolina fare much better. At one 
time, one of her high judicial officers. Samuel Spencer, could only execute the laws 
against Tories with threats and attempied intimidation ; the Governor, at one period, was 
captured and carried away. When Cornwallis invaded the State, the prominent officials 
fled, carrying the public records to Wa.shington County, Virginia, on the lower frontiers 
of Holston, as a place of asylum and security, as is shown by a MS. letter of Colonel 
Arthur Campbell to Hon. David Campbell, September 15, 1810. 





Cornwallis liiul I'xhibitcd, could only forma council, and 
consii^Mi llu'in to llic falc that woulil lia\c awaited tlii-m in 
the regular aihninislration ot" justice. * 

It is but just and proper, in this connection, to i^ive the 
views of Colonel Shelb}-, one of the conspiciu»us actors in 
this whole alVair ; and he seems to justify it wholly as a 
measure of retaliation: It is impossible, he obser\es, for 
those who have not lived in its miilst, to conceive of the 
exaspeiation which prevails in a civil war. The execution, 
therefore, of the nine Tories at [near] Gilbert Town, will, 
by many persons, be considered an act of retaliation unnec- 
essarily cruel. It was believed by those who were on the 
•ground to be both necessary and proper, for the purpose of 
puttin<r a stop to the execution of the patriots in the Caro- 
linas by the Tories and British. The event proved the 
justice of the expectation of the patriots. The execution of 
the Tories did stop the execution of the Whiijs. And it 
ma}' be remarked of this cruel and lamentable mode of 
retaliation, that, whatever excuse and jiretimses the Tories 
ma}' have had for their atrocities, the British otllcers. who 
often ordered the execution of Whigs, had none. Their 
training to arms, and military education, should have pre- 
vented them from violating the rules of civilized warfare in 
so essential a point, f 

Earlv in the evening, the trials havinix been broutrht to 
a conclusion, a suitable oak was selected, upon a projecting 
limb of which the executions were to take place. It was 
by die roail side, near the camp, and is yet standing, known 
in all that region as the Gci/lozvs Oak. ''i\)rch-lights were 
procured, the condemned brought out, around wliom the 
troops formed four deep. It was a singular and interesting 
night scene, the dark old woods illuminated with the wild 
glare of hundreds of pine-knot torches ; and quite a number 
of the Loj-alist leaders of the Carolinas about to be launched 

''Johnson's Life of Greene, i. pp. 309-11, 

t Conversations with Govtrnor Shcil'y, in American Review, Decembei, 1848. 




into etornily. The namos oftlic coiuU'ninod Tories were — 
Colonel Ambrose Mills, Captain Jaini-s Chitwood, Captain 
Wilson, Captain Walter (xilki'v , Captain (Jriines, T^ieuti-n- 
ant Lallerty, John McFall, Jolm Hibby, and Auiriisline 
ll(jbbs. They were swun;^' oil" three at a lime, ami K-ft 
suspended at the place of execution. According to Lieuten- 
ant Allaire's account, they died like soldiers — like martyrs, 
in their own and friends' estimation. " These brave but un- 
fortunate Loyalists," says Allaire, " with their lati'st bn-ath 
exjiressed tlu'ir uiuitleralile detestation of the Rebels, and 
of their base and inl'amous proceedinijs ; and. as they were 
being turned oil', extolled their King and the Ihilish Go\- 
ernment. Mills, Wilson and Chitwood died like Romans." * 
Among the small party of Georgians who served in the 
campaign, was the noted Captain Paddy Carr, heretofore 
introduced to the reader. Oevoid, as he was. of the liner 
feelings of humanity, he was deeply interested in, and 
greatly enjoyed these sickening executions. If there was 

* A'.'aire's MS. Diary ; and his statements as ;;iven in the Scot's .tfagazinf anil Riving- 
ton's Ki'yal Cazitte. 

It may be well to yivo the authorities for the names of the Loyalist leaders who siilTcred 
on this occasion. Lord Cornwallis, in his correspondence, names Colonel Mills, as do 
several liistorians ; Allaire gives the names of I'aptain Wilson and C liilwood ; (lilkcy 
is referred to liy Ensign Campbell, and siic ifically named by Silas Mcliee. and the vener- 
alilc John Gilkey ; Captain (irimes is mentioned in Ramsey's Tennessn', and I'utnam's 
Middli- Teniii'i^i'f : McFall's name has been preserved by Kichard llallew. Ji<hn Spelts, 
.and Arthur Mi Kail — eye-witnesses, and his prior acts at Davenport's are r'l.ited liy Hon. 
J. ('. H.irpcr .uid Captain \V. \V. Lenoir, whoderived them from William Davenport; the 
nan\cs of LatTerty and I'.ibby have been communicated by W. L. Twitty, as the tradi- 
tions of ,-tgcd people of Rutherford County, N, C, where they, as well as Chitwood lived, 
whose name is likewise preserved in the memories of the aged inhabitants of that region ; 
and the name of Hobbs is alone remembered by Silas Mcliee, 

Colonel Mills resided on Green river, in Rutherford County ; Captain Wilson, in the 
Ninety Six regi'in. South Carolina; Chitwood, Lafferty, liibby, and probably Uilkey, in 
Rutherford; McFall. in Hurke C<junty ; Hobbs most likely in South Carolina; and Orimcs 
in Kast PeiiTiessee, where he was a leader of a party of Tory hnrsc-thieves and highway- 
men, and where some of his band were taken aiu'. hung. He lied to escape summary pun- 
ishment, but Justice overtook him in tlie end. His baiulit career in Tennessee is noticed 
in Ramsey's Ifistnry o^ that Slate, pp. 179. 243; and l*ntnam's Mitidlt* Tennt'ssfe^ 58. 

General DePeyster, in his able Aiithvss on A'//:f's Mountain, before the New York 
Historical Society. January, 4, iS3i, has inadvertently fallen into the error of including 
Captain Oates as among those e.\ecnled with Colonel Mills, citing .Mrs. Warren's History 
as authority. Lord Cornwalhs. in his letter to General Smallwood. No\ ember. 10. 17S0. 
states that Captain Oates was taken by the .\mericans near the Ped ^e, in South Carolina, 
and "lately put to death." 



anything' he liiitcd more than aiiolher, it was a Tory ; ami. 
it mav be, mucli of his extreme bitterness jfrew out ot' the 
fact, tluit he knew full well how intensely 'le, in turn, was 
hated by the Loyalists. Pointinj^ at the unfortunates, while 
dandling in mid-air, Carr exclaimed: " WouKl to Ciod 
every tree in the wiklerness bori' sucli I'ruit as that I'" * 

After nine of the Loyalist leaders h.ul been execuled, 
and three others w<M'e about to follow suit, an unexpected 
incident occurred. Isaac Haldwin, oiu' of these condi-nmed 
trio, had been a leader of a Tory yanjf in Burke County, 
who had sacked many a house, strippin;^ the imfortunate 
occupants of food, beds and clothin^r ; ;ind not unfri'C|uently, 
after tyin^ tliem to trees, and whippini,f them seyerely, 
would leaye them in their helpless and gory conditicm to 
tlu'ir fate. While all eyes were directed to Baldw in and 
his companions, pinioned, and awaiting the call of the exe- 
cutioners, a brother of IjaUhyin's, a mere lad, approached, 

'■''J. L. Cray's MS. st.-itcnient ; Rutlicrford yTwywm'v, May i.^, 1859. 

The Ucvolmirinary war produced few cliaraclcrs so sinijular and so notorious as 
Patrick Carr. lie was by birth an Irishman, and settled in Georgia before the commcnce- 
munt of the war. It is only in the latter part of the contest we are able to trace him, Ue 
shared as a Captain under Colonel Clarke in the heroic attack on Augusta, in September, 
1780; then retired to the ('arolinas, and joined the mountaineers under AKijor Candler, 
and fou.nht at Kings Mountain. The following niontli we find him under Sumter at Jilack- 
stocks; in M.iy, 1731, en^jaged in forays against Ilrilish and Tory parties in Ocorgia. way- 
laying and defeating them. e.\teniling little or no mercy to any of them. In November. 

1781. when M.ijur Jackson surprised the Hrilish p"-t at Ogeechec. and its conciiKuuler. 
Johnson, was in the act of surrendering his sword to Jackson, Carr treacherously killed 
Captain Ooldsniilh. Johnson and his associates, judging that no (piarters would be given 
them, instantly into their place of defence, and compelled the Americans to retire 
with ronsidiralile loss. .-V notorious Tory by the name of (lunu had concerted a plan to 
kill Colonel Twiggs, and subseiiuently fell into the Colonel's bauds, when Carr insisted that 
Gunn should be hung; But Twiggs, more humane, protected the prisoner from liariu. In 

1782, Carr was made a Major, and. in the spring and early summer, marched with a force 
over the Altamaha, where he had twoskirmishes with whites and Indians, On one occasion, 
(".irr was praised for his bravery, when he replied that had not God given him too 
merciful a heart he would have made a very good soldier. It is related that he killed 
eighteen Tories on his way back from King's Mountain and Rlackstocks to Georgia ; and 
one hundred altogether during ilie war, with his own hands! Certain it is, the Tones 
stood in great awe of him. He was murdered, in August, 1802. in Jeffcrs(m County, 
Georgia, where he long resided; and, it is said, the act was committed by descendants of 
the Tories. In r)cccmber following, the JclTerson County troop of Light Horse asscmliled 
at his place of inteiment, Lieutenant Robinson delivering a brief eulogy, when the milit.iry 
fired a volley over his grave. Though "a honey of a patrii>t, " Paddy Carr left a name 

'■ 10 other times, 

Mixed with few virtues, and a thousand crimes." 


J. \ 


apparently in sincere affection, to take parting leave. He 
threw his arms around his brother, and set up a most piteous 
screaming and lamentation as if' he would go into convul- 
sions, or his heart would break of sorrow. While all were 
witnessing this touching scene, the youth managed to cut 
the cords confining his brother, who suddenly darted away, 
breaking througli the line of soldiers, and easily escaping 
under cover of the darkness, into the surrounding forest. 
Although he had to make his way tlu-ough more than a 
thousand of the best marksmen in the world, yet such was 
the universal admiration or feeling on the occasion, that not 
one would lift a hand to stop him. * 

Whether the escape of Baldwin produced a softening 
effect on the minds of the Whig leaders — any feelings of 
forbearance towards the condemned survivors ; or whether, 
so far as retaliation, or the hoped-for intimidating iniluence 
on the Tories of the country, was concerned, it was diougiit 
enough lives had been sacrificed, we are not informed. 
Some of these men must have been tried withiii the scope of 
the civil law, for crimes committed against society ; while 
others must have been tried and condemned for violations 
of the usages of war;f and yet, after all, the 7;/(^;v// (_;^tr/ 
would seem to ha\-e been the principal motive for these 
cases of capital punishment. 

Referring probably to the two companions of Baldwin 
al"ter he hud efiected his escape, we have this statement on 
the Puthority of Colonel Shelby: " Three more were lied, 
ready to be swung off. Shelby interfered, and proposed to 

*C"nvers.>tion'i with John Spelts nnd Benjamin Starritt; Memoir of Mnjor Thomas 
Vonns; : lti\n^ox\'?< Life of Cenernl Greftir. i. 310. 

Baldwin tiiade his way into his old region, in l?urkc County, where his father resided, 
on Lower Creek ni Catawba ; where some two weeks aftrrw.irds, he was espied in the 
woods by some scrnits who gave chase, and finally overtook him, one of the )iiirsners killing 
him by a single blow over the head with his rifle. Some forty-five years after this iragedy, 
a younger brother of Ike Haldwin -pr ib ibly the one who so successfully planned liis 
e-.c ipe at nil kerstaff's— made three inelTectual attempts to kill the man who had brained 
the 'I'ory free-booter. 

t Speech of General Alexander Smyth, in Cunyress, January 21, i8iy, Xilt's' Kfgister, 
XV,. Supplement, 151, 



stop it. The other officers agreed ; and the three men who 
supposed tliey hud seen their hist hour, were untied."* The 
inference is, that the officers here referred to, who, with 
Shelb}', exercised the pardoning power, or " put a stop" 
to further executions, were the presiding officers of the 
court, in their character of justices, of whom Colonel Camp- 
bell could hardly have been one, though a magistrate at 
home, for the civil court was acting under the laws of 
North Carolina ; and yet Ensign Campbell, in his narrative, 
speaks of the trials having been conducted before a court- 
martial, and adds, that, after the nine were executed, *' the 
others were pardoned by the commanding officer ; " while 
another eye-witness, Benjainin Sharp, states that " a court 
was detailed," and after the nine were hung, " the rest 
were reprieved by the commanding officer." Nor is the 
language of the late Governor Campbell less explici:: " A 
court-martial was ordered and organized to try man\-of the 
7\jrv officers, char<fed b'/ tli'> officers of North and South 
Carolina with many offences — such as wiurdering unofTend- 
ing citizens not in arms, and without motive, save the brutal 
one of destroying human life. Thirty-nine were found 
guilty, nine of whom were executed, anr^ thirty were par- 
doned by the commanding officer.'' f \^ hether the surviv- 
ors were pardoned by the court in its civil capacity, or by 
the commanding officer at the instance of a court-martial, 
the executions ceased. X 

" Amencan Review, December, 1S4S. 

fMS. statement by Gm.rnor Campbell, 

J This, however, nut the List of the Tory executions. A few tlnys after Kii,g's 
Motiiitaiii battle, while s"me yoiiiiK men of the siirrcninilinK country — Thomas Patterson, 
who escaped while a prisoner, and foMght so br.\vely in the action, is believed to have been 
one of the party— were near the battle tjroiind, lookin)^ for horses in the range, they dis- 
covircil I'lie of Kerniison's frragers, who was absent .it the time of the enga(,'ement. They 
concluded to capture him ; but on showing such an intention, they were surprised at his 
pluck, in tiring on them single-handed —the bullet whizzing close by them withoi.t harm. 
The Tory then betook himself to his heels, but soon overhauled, and, without much 
ceremony, was suspended to the limb of a tree by means of one of the halters designed for 
the horses Mis carcass was left hanging till it decayed, and dropped to the ground: while 
the rope dangled from the limb for several years. So relates the venerable K. A. Patterson, 
a grand-son ol youtig Arthur Patterson, who, while a prisoner on King's Mountain, escaped 


t ' 




One of the rcprie\ocl Tories, touched with a sense of the 
obligation he was under lor sparing his Hfe, and perhaps 
resolved thereafter to devote his energies totlieWhii; cause, 
went to Colonel Shelby at two o'clock that night, and 
made this revelation : " You have saved my life," said he, 
" and I will tt'll you a secret. Tarleton will be here in die 
morning — a woman has brought the news." * No ibt 
intelligence came that Tarleton had been dispatclied bv 
Lord Cornwallis with a strong force for the relief of Fergu- 
son, if relief could be of any service ; but a« to the par- 
ticular time of his arrival, that was the merest guess-work, 
and, with the Tories, the wish was father to the thought. 
But the Whig leaders, on receiving this information, deeming 
it prudent to run no risk, but to retire with their prisoners to 
a place of safety, instantly aroi jed the camp, picking up 
everything, sending the wounded into secret places in the 
mountains, and making every preparation for an early start 
in the morning, f They marched, according to Allaire's 
Diarw at tlie early hour of live o'clock, on Sunday, the 
fifteenth of October. 

Tlie poor LoNalist leaders had been left swinging from 
the sturd}^ oak upon which tluw had been executed. No 
sooner had the Whigs moved off, than Mrs. Martha Bicker- 
staff, or Biggerstaff, the wife of Captain Aaron Bickerstall' 
who had served under Ferguson, and been mortally 
wounded at King's Mountain, with the assistance of an old 
man who worked on the farm, cut down the nine dead 
bodies. Eight of them were buried in a shallow trench, 
some two feet deep ; while the remains of Captain Chitwood 

diirinn the battle; cormhoratcd by the venerable Abraham Hardin. Colonel J. R. 
Logan communicated Mi Patterson's tradition of the affair. 

Not long after the action at King's Mountain, a ciuiple of Tories were caught aid 
hung on an oak tree, near Sandy Plains Baptist Chnrch, in the edge of Cleveland County, 
some four miles south-east of Flint Hill. Neither their names, nor the crimes with which 
they were charged, have been preserved. The tree im which they were executed is Mill 
standing, and like llint at the Bii ker-itaflT Red Chimneys, is known as the Gallows ( )ak ; it 
has been dead several ye.irs. This tradition has been communicated by the aged father of 
Daniel D. Martin, of liuthcrford County, and Colonel J. K. Logan. 

*Shelby's account in American Review. 

+ Shelby's account. 





were conveyed b^- some of his friends, on ;i plank, half a 
mile away to Benjamin BickerstafT's, where they were 
interred on a hill still used as a grave-yard. About 1855, 
a party of road-makers concluded to exhume the remains 
of Colonel Mills and his companions, as the place of their 
burial was well known. The graves of only four of the 
number were opened, the bones soon crumbling on expo- 
sure. Several articles were found in a ver^- good state of 
preservation — a butcher knife, a small brass chain about five 
inches in length, evidently used in attaching a powder-horn 
to a shot-bag, a thumb lancet, a large musket flint, a goose- 
quill, with a wooden stopper, in which were three or four 
brass pins. These articles, save the knife, and a portion 
of the pins, are preserved by M. O. Dickerson, Esq., of 
Rutherfordton. * 

Shortly after marching from Bickerstafl^'s, rain began to 
fall in tt)rrents, and it never ceased Uie whole day. " In- 
stead of halting," says Benjamin Sharp, "we rather mended 
our pace in order to cross the Catawbariver before it should 
rise to intert- pt us." It was regarded as essential to get 
out of Tarleton's reach, and hence the straining of every 
nerve, and the exercise of every self-denial, to accomplish 
so important an object. The sanguinary character of that 
impetuous British cavalry oHicer, and the celerity of his 
movemeui.... as shown at Buford's defeat, at Monk's Corner, 
and at Sumter's surprise at Fishing Creek, admonished 
the Whig leaders of the enemy tl y might have to deal 
with ; and impelled, on this occasioii, b)-^ the hope of rescu- 
ing several hundred British and Tory prisoners was ver}' 
naturallv regarded by the patriots as a powerful incentive 
for Tarleton to push them to the utmost extremity, and play 
cut and slash as usual — and hence the supposed necessity 
of equal exertions on their part to avert so great a calamity. 
It is not a little singular that, at this very moment, Ccrn- 
wallis and Tarleton were retreating from Charlotte to 



'MS. ciirrcspondeiice of W, L. Twitty and Mr Dickerson. 




e«ii ;. 

Winnsboro, South Carolina, with all their might and main — 
" with much fatigue," says Lord Rawdon, "occasioned by 



that the " th 




" It was 

anis ; learmg tiiat tne " three tlious 
victorious moimtaineers were in hot pursuit 
amusing," said one of the King's Mountain men, "when 
we learned the facts, how Lord Cornwallis was nmning in 
fright in one direction, and we mountaineers as eagerly 
fleeinu in the other."* 

In Allaire's newspaper narrative, we have this account 
— whether colored or distorted, we have no means of 
determining: " On the morning of the fifteenth. Colonel 
Campbell had intelligence that Colonel Tarleton was 
approaching him, when he gave orders to his men, that 
should Tarleton come up with them, they were immediately 
to fire on Captain DePeyster and his officers, who were in 
the front, and then a second volley on the men. During 
this day's march, the men were obliged to give thirty-five 
Continental dollars for a single ear of Indian corn, and forty 
for a drink of water, they not being allowed to drink when 
fording a river ; in short, the whole of the Rebels' conduct 
from the surrender of the party into their hands, is incredible 
to relate. Several of the militia that were worn out with 
fatigue, not being able to keep up, were cut down and 
trodden to death in the mire." 

It was about ten o'clock at night, according to Allaire's 
Diary ^ and as late as two o'clock, according to Shelby, when 
the wearied troops and prisoners reached the Catawba, at 
the Island Ford, where the river was breast deep as they 
forded it. They bivouacked on the western bank of the 
river at the Qiuiker Meadows — the home of Major Mc- 
Dowell. "A distance of thirty-two miles," says Allaire, 
'• v/as accomplished this day over a very disagreeable road, 
all the men worn out with fatigue and fasting, the prisoners 
having had no bread nor meat for two days" — and, appar- 
ently, not even ravv corn or pumpkins. Nor had the Whigs 

*MS. Notes of conversations with Silas McBee, in 1843. 

■^••-■^. . 


' ! 


■ .' " 
■ 1 

^ ; j 


^ :^ A/ //o-Cf '■/<"> 




fared an}' better, judging from the statement in the 
American Rcvicxv, dictated by Colonel Shelby: "As an 
evidence of the hardships undt-rgone by these brave and 
hard}' patriots, Colonel Shelby says that he ate nothing 
from Saturday morning until after they encamped Sunday 
night — [or rather Monday morning] — at two o'clock." 
Benjamin Sharp throws additional light on the privations 
of the patriots: ^'During the whole of this expedition," 
he states, "except a few days at our outset, I neither tas'u'd 
bread nor salt, and this was the case with nearly every man ; 
when we could get meat, which was but seldom, we had to 
roast and eat it without either ; sometimes we got a few 
potatoes, but our standing and principal rations were ears 
of corn, scorched in the fire or eaten raw. Such was 
the price paid by the men of the Revolution for our 

Here, at McDowell's, some provisions were obtained — 
not much of a variety, but such as satisfied half-star\ed 
men ; nor did they seek rest until the}- had dried themselves 
by their camp fires, and enjoyed their simple repast. 
" Major McDowell," says Sharp, "rode along the lines, 
and informed us that the plantation belonged to him, and 
kindly invited us to take rails from his fences, and make 
fires to warm and dry us. I suppose that every one felt 
grateful for this generous ofier ; for it was rather cold, it 
being the last of October, and ever}' one, from the Com- 
mander-in-chief to the meanest private, was as wet as if he 
had just been dragged through the Catawba river." 

It is evident from Allaire's Diary., that when it was pos- 
sible, courtesies were extended to the British officers — even 
when the Whig patriots themselves were camping out on 
the ground. " We officers," he says, " were allowed to go 
to Colonel McDowell's, where we lodged comfortably." A 
little incident transpired on this occasion which the good 
Lieutenant did not care, perhaps, to record in his Diary. 
Seme of these very same officers had visited the residence 







of the McDowell's, under very cliHerent circumstances, the 
preceding month, when Ferguson had invaded tlu' llpper 
Catawba Valley, and when the two brothers. Colonel 
Charles and Major Joseph McDt)well, had retired with their 
little band across the mountains. Their widowed mother 
was the presiding hostess of the old homestead at the 
Qiuiker Meadows; she was a woman of luicommon energy 
and fearlessness of character — a native of the Emerald Isle. 
She possessed a nice perception of right and wrong ; and, 
withal, was not wanting in her share of quick temper 
peculiar to her people. 

Some of these visitors, having ransacked the house for 
spoils, very coolly appropriated, among other things, the 
best articles of clothing of her two noted Rebel sons ; and 
took the occasion to tantalize the aged mother with what 
would be the fate of her boys when they should catch them. 
Charles should be killed out-right, but as for Joe, they 
would first compel him, by way of humiliation, to plead on 
his knees for his life, and then would slay him without 
mercy. But these threats did not in the least intimidate 
Mrs. McDowell ; but she talked hack at them in her quaint, 
effective Irish style, intimating that in the whirligigs of life, 
they might, sooner or later, have a little begging to do tor 
themselves. The chanwd circumstances had been brouj^ht 
about in one short month, quite as much, perhaps, to the 
surprise of the good old lady, as to the proud officers of 
Ferguson's Rangers. Now they appeared again, wet, 
weary, and hungry : but Mrs. McDowell readily recognized 
them, and it required not a little kind persuasion on the 
part of Major McDowell to induce his mother to give those 
" thieving vagabond Tories," as she termed them, shelter, 
food, and nourishment. But the appeals of her filial son, of 
whom she was justly proud, couphnl with the silent plea of 
human beings in their needy, destitute condition, prevailed ; 
and in her Christian charity, she returned good for e\il.* 

* Related by the lady of Ex-Governor Lewis E. Parsons, of Alabama, who derived it from 
her mother, a d.iiighter of Major Joseph McDowell, of Quaker Mead' vs. 




It was fortunate for the mountaineers that they had suc- 
ceeded in crossing the Catawha so opportunely, for the next 
morning they found it liad risen so much as to be past 
fording. Tins obstacU; would naturally j^revent, for some 
time, all pursuit, if indeed any had been made. It was 
now arranged that Colonel Lacey's men* should be per- 
mitted to return to South Carolina, while most of Shelby's 
and Sevier's regiments, with the footmen of the Virginians, 
should take their home trail across the mountains. The 
mounted men of Campbell's regiment, with the Wilkes and 
Surry tnjops under Cleveland and Winston, and perhaps 
McDowell's party, together with a few of Sevier's and 
Shelby's young men who preferred to remain in the service, 
and who had incorporated themselves into McDowell's 
corps, now constituted the escort for the prisoners. Shelbv 
states, that at'ter the several corps had retired at the Catawba, 
there remained not more Whigs than tliey had prisoners to 
guard — about five or six hundred. 

The wounded Americans, who had been hid away in the 
mountains when the troops marched so hurriedly from 
BickerstatT's. were soon brought forward ; and man}- of them 
were left in Burke Countv, eight or ten miles above Burke 
Court House, where Doctor Dobson,of that neighborhood, 
had eighteen of them under his care at one time ; four of 
whom were Wilkes and Surry County officers billeted at 
a Mr. Mackey's. \ 

After a needful rest, and the return of fair weather, the 
patriots proceeded at two o'clock on Mi/uday afternoon, 
October sixteenth, directing their course, by easy marches, 
to the head of the Yadkin, and down the valle}- of that 
stream. Fording Upper creek, or the North branch of 
the Catawba, and John's river, they encamped that night at 
a Tory plantation, not ver\- far beyond the latter stream. 

While on the hurried and toilsome march from Bicker- 

* Pension statements of William White of Lacey's regiment, and William Alexander 
of Campbell s men. 

t Lieutenant Ncwell's statement, 1823. 



' m 

; f 
\ i 

; \ 




stafF's to tlie Catawba, and especially (liirinjT several hours of 
the evening, amid rain and mud. it proved a favorable oppor- 
tunity for many of the prisoners to give their guards the slip, 
and ellect their escape. Allaire says the number reached a 
hundred. To put a stop to these numerous desertions, the 
Whig leaders promulgated severe admonitions of the con- 
sequences of any further attempts in that direction ; but 
they did not eff-X'tually restrain the daring and adventurous. 
Having marched fit'teen miles during Tuesda}', passing 
through ITappv Valley and over Warrior Mountain, the 
troops, with their prisoners, camped that evening at Captain 
Hatt's plantation, not very far from Fort Deliance ; and, 
during the night, three of the prisoners attempted to evade 
their guards, two of them succeeding, while the othiT was 
shot dn-ough die body, retaken, and executed at live o'clock 
on the following morning. * 

During Wednesdav, the eighteendi, the troops forded 
Elk and Warrior creeks, camping that night on the west- 
ern bank of Moravian creek, a short distance west of 
Wilkes Court House, having accomplished eighteen miles ; 
and passing the next day through the Old Mulberry Fields, 
or Wilkes Court House, they took \ip their camp at 
Ilagoods' plantation, on Brier creek, having marched six- 
teen miles this day. While in camp, on Brier creek. 
Colonel Campbell appears to have discharged some of his 
Virginians, for he wrote a letter on the twentieth, to his 
brother-in-law, Colonel Arthur Campbell, giving him a 
brief account of the battle, but was uncertain as yet what 
disposition would be made of the prisoners. Taking a late 
start on Friday, six miles only were accomplished, camping 
that night at Sales' plantation. Proceeding' by slow 
marches, the}^ passed Salem, arriving at Bethabara, or Old 
Town, on the twent3--fourth — both Moravian villages — 
whose people, according to Allaire, were stanch friends 
of the King, and were verv kind to all the prisoners. 

* Allaire's MS. Di,uy. Capt. Uatl may possibly be designed for Capt. Holt or Hall. 



The very first nij^ht the Ihitisli ofllcers had beea 
assigneil quarters at Betliahara, Lieutenant Alhiire and 
Doctor Johnson, who were rooniini^f toj^ether, were driven 
from thi'irbed by a violent WhiL,^ Captain named Campbell, 
who, with drawn sword, threatenetl tlu-m with dcatli it' they 
did not instantly obey him. Colonel Camjibell was notitied 
of this rudeness, who had the unseasonable intrudir turned 
out of the room ;* and this is but another instance of his 
sense of justice towards helpless prisoners. 

Amony; the Tory captivi's, was a notorious desperado 
named Bob Powell. He was a man of unusual size, slroni^, 
supple, and powerful. He boasted of his superior ability 
and agility to out-hop, out-jump, out-wrestle, or out-tight 
any Whig in tlie army. He seemed to possess a happier 
faculty of getting into scrapes, than in getting out. Chained 
with two accomplices for some bad conduct, he sent word 
one morning that he wanted to see Colonels Campbell, 
Shelby and Cleveland, on a matter of importance. When 
waited on by those officers, he seemed to think that the 
proposition he was about to submit was a matter of no small 
consideration — no less than a challenge to wrestle or fight 
with the best man they could produce from their army, 
conditioned that, should he prove victor, his freedom should 
be his reward; should he fail, he would regard his life as 
forfeited, and they might hang him. Though a couple of 
guineas were offered to any man who would successful!} 
meet him — probably '^ore with a view of an exhibition of 
the "manly art," as then regarded by tlie frontier people, 
yet nc one saw fit to engage in the ofiored contest. Under 
the circimistances, all knew full well that Powell would 
fight with the desperation of a lion at bay ; and none cared 
to run the risk of encountering a man of his herculean pro- 
portions, with the stake of freedom to stimulate his efibrts.f 

It was apparently while at Bethabara, that Colonels 

' / 

* Allaire's MS Diary, aiut his newspaper narrative. 

f MS. Miites of conversation willi Jolin Spelts, an eye-witness. 









^ iiiii^ 









°v > 








%^ \^ "^^^ 






Campbell, Shelby, and Cleveland made out their oflicial 
report of King's Mountain battle. Had it been prepared 
before Colonels Lacey and Sevier h:d retired at the Q^uiker 
Meadows, the names of those two ofhc^rs would doubtless 
have been attached to it also.* Colonel Shelby accom- 
panied the troops to Bethabara. He had been deputed 
to visit General Gates at Hillsboro, to tender the services 
of a corps of mountaineers, mostly refugees, under Major 
McDowell, to serve under General Morgan. Colonel 
Campbell also had occasion to repair to head-quarters to 
make arrangements for the disposition of the prisoners. 

On the twenty-sixth of October, Colonel Campbell issued 
a General Order, appointing Colonel Cleveland to the 
command of the troops and prisoners until his expected 
return, especially providing that lull rations be issued to the 
prisoners ; adding, " it is to be hoped, no insult or violence 
unmerited will be offered them ; no unnecessary injury be 
done to the inhabitants, nor any liquor be sold or issued to 
the troops without an order from the commanding officer," f 
Here we have additional evidence, if any were needed, 
of Campbell's humanity and good sense. 

Colonels Campbell and Shelby had scarcely departed, 
when new troubles arose in the treatment of the prisoners. 
Allaire tells us, that one of the Whig soldiers was passing 
the guard, where the captives were confined, when he rudely 
accosted them: " Ah I d — n you, you'll all be hanged!" 
One of die prisoners retorted — " Never mind that, it will be 
your turn next I " For this trifling offence, the poor fellow 

* Doctor Ramsey, in his History of Trnnessre. states that the three Colonels visited 
Hillshoro, and thore made out their report. Colonel riovcland did not go there on that 
occasion, having been left in command at Bethaliara. His name was signed to the report 
ny himself, and not by another as a rnmparison of his pennine autograph with the/jc'- 
j/»«/7(' signature to the report conclusively shows. Perhaps as a compliment, Colonel Cleve- 
land was permitted to head the list, in si,i;nin!j the report, as shown in /ac stiiiile in 
Lossings Field 3ook of the Re-i'olution : hut when C.cncral Gates sent a copy. November i, 
1780. to Governor Jefferson, to forward 10 Conqrcss, he very properly placed Camphetl's 
name first. Sliclhys nc.\t. and Cleveland's last— and so they appear as published in the 
gazettes at the time hv order of Congress. 

fMS. order, preserved by General Preston, 




was tried before Colonel Cleveland, and condemned to be 
hung. Qiiite a number of people [gathered at Belhabara to 
witness the e.\' cution of the unfortunate man ; " but,'' adds 
Allaire, "Colonel Cleveland's goodness extended so far as 
to reprieve him." 

About this dme, Captain William Green and Lieutenant 
William Langum, among the Tory prisoners, were tried 
before Colonel Cleveland. The char'^e a-jainst Green 
seems to have been, that he had violated the oath he had 
taken as an ollicer to support the governments of the State 
of North Carolina and of the United States, by accepting a 
British commission, and lighting at King's Mountain. Some 
of the British oilicers were present, and remonstrated at the 
course taken, when Cleveland cut them short, saying : 
"Gentlemen, you are British oHicers, and shall be treated 
accordingly- — therefore give your paroles and march off 
immediately ; the other person is a subject of the State.'' * 
Green and Langum were condemned to be executed the 
next morning. '' May be so," coolly remarked Green. 

That night, as he and his conn'ade, Langum, were l\'ing 
before the camp-iire, under a blanket, Green rolled over so 
that his hands, fastened with buck-skin straps, came in con- 
tact with Langum's lace, who seeming to comprehend his 
companion's intention, worked away with his teeth till he 
succeeded in unfastening the knot. Green was now able 
to reach his pocket, containing a knife, with which he 
severed the remaining cords, and those of Langum. lie 
then whispered to Langum to be ready to jump up and run 
wlu-n he should set the example. Green was above the 
ordinarv size, strong and athletic. The guard who had 
special watch of them, was in a sitting posture, with his 
head resting upon his knees, and had fallen asleep. Mak- 
nig a sudden leap, Green knocked the sentinel over, and 
tried to snatch his gun from him ; but the latter caught th^ 
skirt of the fleeing man's coat, and Green had to make a 

* Gordon's W;«*riVo« Revolution, iii, pp. 466-67. 

ill J^ 





second clVort before he could release bimself from the sol- 
dier's grasp, and gladly got otl'wilh the loss of a part of his 
garrrient. In another moment both Green and Langum 
were dashing down a declivit}', and though several shot:? 
were lired at them, they escaped unhurt, and w^ere soon, 
beyond the reach of their pursuers. Aided by the friendly 
wilderness, and svmnalliizing Loyalists, thev in time reached 
their old region of liuHalo creek, in now Cleveland County, 
Green at least renouncing his brief, sad experience in the 
Tory service, joined the Whigs, and battled manfully there- 
after for his country. Both Green and Langum long sur- 
vived the war, and were very worthy people. * 

Allaire records an incident, involving, if correctly reported, 
rash treatment on the part of Colonel Cleveland towards 
Doctor Johnson, whose benevolent acts, it would be sup- 
posed, would have commanded the respectful attention of all : 
'•November the first,'" writes Lieutenant Allaire, "Doctor 
Joimson was insulted and knocked down by Colonel Cleve- 
land, for attempting to dress the wounds of a man whom 
the Rebels had cut on the march. The Rebel oflicers 
w( uld often go in amongst the prisoners, draw their swords, 
cut and wound whom their wicked and savage minds 
pr(.)mpted." \ There must have been something unex- 
plained in Doctor Johnson's conduct — the motive is wanting 
for an act so unotlicer-like as that imputed to Colonel Cleve- 
land. While it is conceded tluit he was a rough frontier 
man, and particularly inimical to thiexing and murderous 
T(.)ries, vet he was kind-hearted, and his sympathies 
as responsive to misfortune as those of the tenderest 
woman. The same da}-. Colonel Cleveland was relieved 
of his command by C(jlonel Martin Armstrong, his superior 

* MS. Deposition of Colonel \Vm. Porter, 1S14. kindly communicated by Hon. W. P. 
Bynnni ; MS. letters of Jonathan Hampton and Colonel J K. Logan, the latter giving the 
recollections of the venerable Janie;; Pilanton. nciv eighty-two years of age. who was well 
acqnainteil with both dreen and Lanqutn; statements of Benjamin Higgerstaff and J. W. 
Ureen. furnished by \V. L. Twitty. Some of the traditions represent Langum's name as 

t Allaire's MS, Diary, and his newspaper narrative. 



in rank, as well as the local commandant of Surry County, 
where the troops and prisoners then were. 

The British officers had been expecting to be paroled. 
Colonel Cleveland's remark to them, at Green's trial, would 
seem to indicate the early anticipation of such an event. 
"After we were in the Moravian town about a fortnight," 
says Allaire, " we were told we could not get paroles to 
return within the British lines ; neither were we to have any 
till we were moved over the mountains in the back parts of 
Virginia, where we were to live on hoe-cake and milk." 
Large liberties had been accorded the officers, to enable 
them to while away the tedium of captivity : so that they 
sometimes visited the neighboring Moravian settlements, or 
dined at their friends, in the country-. 

When Lieutenants Taylor, Stevenson, and Allaire 
lea;-ned tliat there was no immediate prospect of their 
receiving paroles, they concluded that the}' would " rather 
trust the hand of fate," as Allaire states it in his narrative, 
and make a desperate etTort to reach their friends — taking 
French leave of their American captors. Accordingly, on 
Sunday evening, about six o'clock, the fifth of November, 
they quieUy decamped, taking Captain William Gist, of the 
Soutli Carolina Loyalists, with them; traveling fifteen 
miles that night to the Yadkin, the fording of which they 
found very disagreeable, and pushed on twenty miles 
farther before daylight. Though pursued, the Whigs were 
misled by false intelligence from Tory sources, and soon 
gave up tlie chase. 

Traveling by night, and resting by day ; sometimes 
sleeping in fodder-houses, oftener in the woods ; with 
snatches of food at times — hoe-cake and dried beef on one 
occasion — supplied bv sympathizing friends by the way ; 
encountering cold rain storms, and fording streams ; guided 
some of the wear}- journey by Loya'.st pilots, and sometimes 
following such directions as they could get ; passing over the 
Brushy Mountain, crossing the Upper Catawba, thence over 





the country to Camp's Ford of second Broad river, the 
Island Ford of Main iJroad, and the old Iron Works 
of Pacolet ; barely escaping Sumter's corps at Black- 
stock's on Tyger, they at length reached Ninety Six, the 
eighteenth day after taking their leave of Bethabara, 
traveling, ds t'oe}' accounted distance, three hundred miles. 
These resolute adventurers suffered imspeakable fatigues 
and privations, but successfully accomplished the object of 
all their toils and self-denials. After resting a day at Ninety 
Six, the}' pursued their journey to Charleston. 





October— December, 1780. 

Disposition of Kini^'s Afounfain Prisoners. — Proposition to Enlist them. 
— Ncfdcii for Exchange. — Congress Refers the Matter to the States 
where the Prisoners Belong. — How they Dwindled Away. — Colonel 
Armstrong lUamed. — Remnant Confined at Salisbury. — DePeysier 
and Ryerson Paroled. — A Plucky Band of Whigs Scare a large 
Tory Party. — Tarleton Frustrates Cormuallis Design of Relieving 
Ferguson. — Intercipting Ferguson's Messengers. — Tarleton at 
Length in Motion. — His Instructions. — Effect of King's Mountain 
Victory. — Ewin and Barry Alarm the Neutrals, and they Alarm 
Cornwallis. — Crowing of David Kno.v. — Cornwallis flees to South 
Carolina, with the Imaginary Mountaineers in Pursuit. — A Tricky 
Guide Misleading the Retiring Troops. — A Panic. — Illness of Corn- 
wallis. — Sickness and Fatality among the Troops. — Privations and 
Sufferings of the Retrograders. — Aid Rendered by the Tories. — 
Ninety Six: Safe. — Cornwallis Threatens Retaliation for Execution 
of King's Mountain Prisoners. — Gates and Randall on the Situa- 
tion. — The Question Ml by General Greene. — Cornwallis Drops the 
Matter. — Case of Adam Cusack. — The Widoivs and Orphans of 
Ninety Six District. — Good Words for King's Mountain Victory. — 
Gates Thanks the Victors. — Washington Takes Courage. — Resolves 
of Congress. — Greene and Lee Commend the Mountaineers. — Tossing, 
Bancroft, and Ir^'tw^ on the Result. — The British Leaders Recognise 
the Disastrous Effects of Ferguson's Miscarriage.— Gates and Jef- 
ferson's Encomiums. — King's Mountain Paves the Way for York- 
town and Independence. 

General Gates, on the twelfth of October, at llillsboro, 
received the joyous intelligence of the victory of King's 
Moiinlain ; and wrote the next da}- to Colonel William 
Preston, near Fort Chiswell, or the Lead Mines, in the 
Virginia Valle\', appointing him to prepare barracks or 
other works for the reception of the prisoners, and to take 
the superintendency of them, believing that locality a safe 




quarter, and where the necessary ■^applies could be obtained 
for their support. Colonel Preston assured General Gates 
that the Lead Mines would be an unsafe place for the pris- 
oners, as there were more Tories in that Count}-, Montgom- 
ery, than any other known to him in Virginia ; he urged, 
besides, the further objection of its proximity to Surr^- and 
other disaflected regions in North Carolina, and the inimi- 
cal Clierokees to the south-west. He, therefore, suggested 
the County of Botetourt, liigher up the Valky, as more 
suitable, and William ?.fadison as a proper and younger 
person to undertake the service.* 

It would seem that General Gates balanced between two 
modes of disposing of the prisoners — one, to place them 
where they would be secure from rescue, "■ to be ready for 
exchange for our valuable citizens in the enemy's hands ;" 
the other, a suggesti(jn of Colonel Campbell, to send them 
to the North, and incorporate them with the army under 
General Washington. Colonel Campbell was the bearer 
of General Gates' dispatches on the subject to Governor 
Jefl'erson, at Richmond, who finally referred the whole 
matter to Congress. f That body, on the twentieth of Nov- 
ember, recommended to Governor Jefl'erson to cause the 
King's Mountain prisoners to be secured in such manner 
and places as he might judge proper: "That a list <->{ the 
names of the Tory prisoners be taken, distinguishing the 
States, County or District to which they severally belong, 
and transmitted to the Executives of their several States, 
who are requested to take such order respecting them as the 
public securit}-, and the laws of the respective States may 
require." X 

But various circumstances combined to render all such 
arrangements of no avail. Starting from King's Mountain 
with not to exceed six hundred prisoners, they rapidly 

'•'MS. letter of Gates to Preston, O.nober 13, and of Preston to Gates, October 27, 1780; 
Jefferson's Works, i, 273. 

T MS. letter of Linna;us Smith 10 General Francis Preston, July 19, 1823. 
J Journals of Congress, 1780, vi, 374, 



dwindled away ; tlie paroles of somt" of tlaem commenced 
the second day after the battle ; * one hundred, Allaire tells 
us, escaped durini,^ the march the stormy day, and part 
of the niyhl, before' reaching- the C^iaker ^^eado\vs ; half a 
dozen at another time ; Allaire and three associates escaping" 
as already related, and still later sixteen soldiers succeeded 
in getting away from the guard at Bcthabara, f while 
doubdess many others evaded the vigilance of their guards 
(jf which we have no record. According to the Moravian 
accounts, there were never more than three hundred prison- 
ers at Bethabara, fifty of whom were of Ferguson's 
Provincial corps, and five hundred Whigs to guard them, 
who remained at that place nineteen days, till all the 
provisions were consumed. X Prior to the seventh of 
November, one hundred and eightA'-eight, who were inhabit- 
ants of the western coimtry of North Carolina, were taken 
out of Colonel Armstrong's charge by the civil authorities, 
and bound over, § inferenliall}' for their appearance at court, 
or for their good behavior; some were dismissed, some 
paroled, but most of them enlisted — some in the three 
months' militia service, others in the North Carolina 
Continentals, and others still in the ten months' men under 
Sumter. So evident was it to General Gates, that neither 
the military nor civil ofFicers of North Carolina had any 
authority over these prisoners, many of whom had been 
almost constantly in arms against their country since the 
surrender of Charleston, that he remonstrated with the 
State Board of War at Salisbury ; and Colonel Armstrong 
was made to answer for the injiu'v thus done to the 
American cause. The remaining prisoners were then 
marched under a strong guard to Ilillsboro. || 

'•■MS. parole of Dennis McDiifT by Cnptain George I,e<'better, October 9th, 1780, 
preserved by Hon. W. P. Byniim. 

t Colonel Armstrong to Gen. Gates. November nth, 1780. among the Gates Papers in 
the New York Historical Society. 

IReichel's Moravians in IVorth Carolina, pp. 92-93. 

Ji Colonel Armstrong to Gen Gates, November 7th and nth, 1780, 

l{ burk's History 0/ Virginia, iv, 410. 



1: ^„.a 



Incliuliiii; till' Provincials, only about one luiiulrcil and 
thirty captives remained ; and General Greene, when he 
took llu- command of the Southern department, early in 
December, lami-nted the loss of so many of the Kind's 
Mountain ]irisoiUMs, who, had they been retaini'd, woulil 
have hiH-n the means of restoring' to the service many a noble 
soldier lan^^uishiujr in nrilish prisons; nor was he without 
suspicions of something more than folly on tin- part of those 
who hatl taki'U such liberties to dispose of llu'in. * 'i'he 
jail and a lo<^ house near it, at Salisbury, wire ordered by 
General Greene to be picketed in, fur the reception of the 
renuiininjjf prisoners, w ho were directed to erect huts within 
the pickets, f fur their use as cooking and sleeping apart- 
ments. " The North Carolina government," wrote Colonel 
Henry Lee to General Wayne, January seventh, 1781, 
"has in a great degree baOled thi" fruits of that victory. 
The Tories captureil were enlisted into the militia or draft 
service, and ha\e all rejoined the British ; I heard General 
Greene say, yeslerda\', that his last return made out sixty in 
jail, and his intelligence from the enemy declares that two 
hinidred ot" them were actuall}- in arms against us.";]; In 
Februar\- ensuing. Captains UePeyster and R}erson were 
paroled to Charleston, and iound on their arri\al that they 
were already exchanged. S 

A singular incident occurred, in connection with the 
King's ]\rountain campaign, Uiat shows what, with pluck 
and bravery, a few fearless men may accomplish. Fergu- 
son, it will be remembered, had tbraging, and perhaps 
recruiting, parties out — under Colonel John Moore, Major 
Zachariah Gibbs, and, ver_v likel3% odiers. One of these 
parlies, estimated at above two hundred and fifty, though 
probabl)- not so numerous, encamped a night or two pre- 

■^'fircene to Washiriijton, December 7th, 1780. 
h Oreene's Li/e of Greene, iii, pp. 78-79. 

\ Li/c of Gen. Henry, by R. K. I.ce, |ii;ifi.\ecl to Lee's Memoirs, revised edition, 
1872, p. 33. 

^Captain Ryerson's statement in the Royal Gtisel.'e, Charleston, Oetober 27ih, 1781. 

i i 



cedinj^ tlu> li;iUli', at a sihool-liousi', near Ilolluij^^swortirs 
mill, on Ijiown's civt'k, in now I'nion CounlN', South 
Carolina, some t\vcnly-ll\o miles south of Kin^r's INhtuntain. 
Their cam]-) was on a lii<fh hill, thickly covered with lirnhi-r. 

A small iiarty of eight or t(.n Whigs, who wi-re lurking 
about till' thickets along l>rown"s creek, with a \irw of 
gaining intelligence concerning l)oth frii'iuls and foes, 
chanced to capture a solitary 'J^)rv, from whom tiiey 
leanu'd d' the design of this large party of foragers to biv- 
ouac that night at the school-house near Hollingsworth's. 
Ready for adventiu'e, the pluck \- Whigs, though so few in 
number compared w ilh their adversaries, thought the\' might 
gain by strategy what they could not accomplisli b\ main 
strength ; and conchuU'd to make an ellort to gi\e the 'I'ory 
camp, at least, a first-rate scare. "^I'hey accordingly arranged 
their plan of proceedings, which was natural and simple. 
Some time after dark they approached the enemy's camp — 
spread themsi-lves in open orcU-r, arounil the hill, at some 
distance from each other, with the undtn'standinu; that thev 
would advance till hailed by the sendnels, then lie down till 
tlie guards llred, when they would arise and rush towards 
the camp, liring and shouting as best they could. 

The}' moved forward with great caution. llie Tor}' 
camp-tires threw a glaring light towards the canopy of 
heaven, and lit up the forest far and near. All was joy and 
gladness in the camp. The jovial song, and merry laugh, 
indicated to the approaching Whigs that good cheer 
abounded in the camp among the friends of King George. 
In a moment all this was suddenly changed — the sentinels 
hailed — then tluy lired, when an imseen foe ruslu-d on 
dirough the woods, yelling and screaming at the top of 
their \()ices — ^and bang! bang I belched forth their rilles in 
quick succession. The poor Tories were taken completely 
b\' surprise — a panic ensued ; and crying "mercy ! merc}' I '' 
they dashed tluough the bushes down the hill at their very 
best speed. A frightened Tory was proverbially latnous in 
such a race. 

if- i\ 




a- - k . 




The victorious \Vhi<^s came into tho camp one after 
another, and peered into die darkness, but could only hear 
the retrealin;^ toragers darting through the woods ; tlie noise 
growing fainter at each successive tnomiMil ; wliiU' the 
skechiddlers, poor souls, were congratulating themselves (m 
their fortunate escape from a formidable partv of Rebels, led 
on, it might be, bv the untiring Sumter, or such a Tory-hater 
as Tom Hrandon, of Fair Fori'st. The Whiles had now 
gained full possession of the camp, with none to dispute 
their victory. Forage wagons were standing hither and 
thither, horses hitchetl to them and to the surrounding trees, 
guns stacked, cooking utensils lying about the lires, with 
hats, caps, and articles of clothing scattered in wild 

Till ihe grev twilight streaked the eastern sky on tlie 
following morning, the little patriot band kept close guard, 
expecting the mtjmentar}- return of the campers ; but 
nothing of the kind transpired. The sun rose bright!}', and 
mounted high above the hills, and still no report from the 
fugitives. ^Vhat shoidd be done with the horses, arms, 
baggage and baggage-wagons, was now discussed by the 
fearless captors. They transported them from the camp, 
around the liill to a secluded spot, and maintained a strict 
watch over their new quarters, and the property thev had 
so adr'iilly captured. It must have been the day succeed- 
ing Ferguson's defeat, that one of the men on guard 
discovert'd a party of a dozen u" fifteen horsemen rapidly 
approaching. It was thouglit to be the van of an arniv' — 
perhaps Ferguson's — coming to recover the spoils; but the 
brave Whigs who had made the successful capture, and 
had guarded the plunder with so much vigilance, resolved 
to test the matter. 

The}' boldly advanced in a body, hailed the vanguard, 
while their horses were drinking at the creek. I^ut the 
horsemen responded onl}- by a confused Right ; and upon 
them the patriots discharged their rilles, vvhich disabled 



one of their horses, so that liis rider surrendered in dismay. 
From him the Whigs learned that his party was just from 
King's Mountain — prohahly the l^and who had returned 
from a foray, and liri'd upon thi* niountainci'rs at the close of 
the action, inorlallv wounchiiif Coh)nc"l Wilhanis — ami were 
now making the hest of their wa}' to tlu-ir respective homes, 
or to Ninety Six, having in view no other object than their 
personal safety. Learning of Ferguson's total defeat, tlu' 
Whig heroes now ventureil to leave their secluded camp, 
and gather a party to convey away the spoils of war to a 
place of safety, where they and their rViends couhl divide 
and enjoy them. * 

Lord Cornwallis' fine schemes of North Carolina and 
Virginia concpiest, were destined to a speedy disappoint- 
ment. Awaiting at Charlotte, for the reception of supplies, 
and the return of the healthful season, to prosecute his 
military enterprise, he had reluctantly yielded t(* the per- 
suasions of Colonel Ferguson to make an excursion into the 
western borders of North Carolina, to encourage tlie friends 
of the Government in that quarter. Though Ferguson 
gave Cornwallis the assurance that his trained militia could 
be trusted, yet his Lordsliip had serious doubts on that head, 
declaring that Fergust)n*s "own experience, as well as that 
of every other oiliccr, was totally against him ;" but, in con- 
sequence of Ferguson's entreaties, backed with the earnest 
advice of Colonel Tarleton, the expedition was undertaken, 
Ferguson promising to return should he hear of any superior 
force approaching him. 

Co.nwallis, failing for some time to receive any definite 
informaUon from Ferguson, evidently commenced to feel 
anxious concerninir his situation. In the VlrQi'iiia Gazette, 
of October eleventh, 1780, we find among the latest items of 
intelligence trom the southward, one to the eflect that " on 
the thirtieth of September, about eight hundred of the enemy, 
with two field pieces, were on their march, three miles in 

^Sayc's Mfntoir o/ Mijunkin^ 




\ V 

acVance from Cliarlotte, on tlio I'oad lcadin«^ to Bcattie's 
Ford, on Catawba river, supposed to be intended to support 
Major Feru^uson, wlio \v;is, with a party, in the neighbor- 
hood ol' Durke Court House."" 

If a rehet" force was sent at all, it was not pushed far 
enough forward to aeconiplish the purpose. Tarleton's ill- 
ness of a fe\er — yi'llow fever, as Major Hanger terms it — 
may have caused procrastination. *' Tarleton is belter,"' 
wrote Lord Cornwallis to Ferguson on the twenty-third of 
September. As he recovered, he was pressed to engage in 
this service, but found excuses for not undertaking it. " My 
not sending relief to Ferguson," observed Lord Cornwal'is, 
"although he was positively ordered to retire, was entirely 
owing to Tarleton himself; lie pleaded weakness from the 
remains of a fever, and refused to make the attempt, 
although T used the most earnest entreaties." * 

Tarleton informs us, that the County of Mecklenburg, in 
which Charlotte was situated, and the adjoining Countv of 
Rowan, were more hostile to England than any other por- 
tion of America; that so vigilant were the Whig troops and 
people of that region, that " very few, out of a great number 
of messengers, could reach Charlotte, in the beginning of 
October, to give intelligence of Ferguson's situation." At 
length Cornwallis received confused reports of Ferguson's 
misca'-riage. lie dispatched Tarleton on the tenth of that 
month, with his Light Infantry, the British Legion, and a 
three-pounder, to go to the assistance of Ferguson, as no 
certain intelligence had arrived of his defeat : though it 
was rumored, with much contidence, by the Americans in 
the neighborhood of Charlotte, Tarleton's instructions 
were to re-inforce Ferguson wherever he could iind him, 
and to thaw his corps to the Catawba, if, after the junction, 
advantage could not be obtained over the mountaineers j or, 
upon the certaint}' of his defeat, at all events to oppose the 
entrance of the victorious Americans into South Carolina — • 

* Cornwallis' Comspundtnct, 1,59. 

. I 




fearing they might seriously threaten Ninety Six and 

The elTect of King's "Mountain battle on the Tories ol' 
the country, and on Lord Cornwallis and liis oflieers at 
Charlotte, may be best interred from actual facts explana- 
tory of the matter. Robert Ilemy, who had been so j-)ain- 
fully transfixed in a I^ritish charge on Chronicle's men, was 
conveyed to his home on the South Fork, a few miles of 
the way on Saturday evening after the battle, and the 
remainder on Sunday, Hugh Ewin and Andrew Barry, two 
of his brave companions, acting as his escort. On Monday 
morning these two friends came to see him, and learned the 
happy elTects of a poultice of wet, warm ashes, applied to 
his wounds by his good mother. While there, several 
neutrals, as they termed themselves, but really Tories in 
disguise, called to learn the news of the battle, when the 
following dialogue took place between them and Ewin and 
Barry : 

'• Is it certain," inquired one of the Tories, "that Colonel 
Ferguson is really killed, and his army defeated and taken 

" Yes, it is certain," replied the Whigs, "for we sav» 
Ferguson after he was dead, and his army prisoners of 

" ITow many men had Ferguson?" 

" Nearly, but not quite, twelve hundred," was the reply. 

"Where," asked the Tories, "did the Whigs get men 
enough to defeat him?" 

"They had," responded the patriots, " the South Carolina 
and Georgia refugees. Colonel Graham's Lincoln County 
men, some froiii Virginia, some from tiie head of the Yad- 
kin, some from the head of the Catawba, some from oxer 
the mountains, and some pretty much from every whrre.'' 

" T«-'ll us," eagerly inquired the neutrals, "how it hap- 
pened, and all about it." 

* Tarlclon's Cumpiiigns, pp. i6o, i6i. 165. 







'•"Well," said Ewin and Barry, "we met near Gilbert 
Town, and found that the foot troops could not overtake Fer- 
guson, and we took between six and seven hundred horse- 
men, leaving as many or more footmen to follow ; and we 
overtook Ferguson at King's Mountain, where we sur- 
rounded and defeated him." 

" Ah I " said one of the Tories, "that will not do — 
between six and seven hundred surrounding nearly twelve 
hundred. It would have taken more than two thousand to 
surround and take Colonel Ferguson." 

" But," responded the Whigs, "we were all of us blue 
hens' chickens — real fighters, and no mistake." 

"There must have been," said the Tories, " of your 
foot and horse over four thousand in all. We see what you 
are about — that j'our aim is to catch Lord Cornwallis 

Thus ended the dialogue, not more than two hours after 
sunrise on Monday, the ninth of October ; and the neutrals 
or Tories quickl}' took their departure. It was reported 
that they immediately swam a horse across the swollen 
Catavvba. bv the side of a canoe, and hastened to give Lord 
Cornwallis the earliest news of Ferguson's defeat. 

As soon as the intelligence reached Charlotte, it produced 
a great excitement among all classes. 

" Iriave you heard the news," inquired one ofiicer, of 
the guard? 

" No, what news?" 

"Why," said the Hrst, " Colonel Ferguson is killed, and 
his whole army defeated and taken prisoners." 

" How can that be," said the doubter — " where did the 
men come trom to accomplish such a feat?" 

"Some of them." replied the man of news, "were 
South Carolina and Georgia refugees, some from Virginia, 
some from the heads of the Yadkin and Catawba, some from 
over the mountains, and some from everywhere. They 
met at or near Gilbert Town, about two thousand despera- 




does on horseback, calling themselvc blue hens" ciiickens ; 
and started in pursuit of Ferguson, having as many foot- 
men to follow. They overtook Ferguson at a place called 
King's Mountain, where thev surrounded his army, killed 
that gallant ollicer, defeateii his men, and took the survivors 

"Can this be true?" despondingly inquired the Ih-st 

" As true as the gospel," replied the other; "and we 
may look t)ut lor breakers." 

" God bless us I " ejaculated the dejected officer of the 


Da\id Knox, a kinsman of President Polk, who was a 
prisoner, but enjoyed the privilege of the town, a man full 
of fun and frolic, hearing this colloquy, jumped upon a pile 
of fire-wood beside the street, slapped his hands and thighs, 
and crowed like a rooster, exclaiming. Day is at hand! * 

It was accounts like these, largely colored and exagger- 
ated by the fear-stricken Tories, that reached Cornwallis' 
ears, and so alarmed him that he sent out Tarleton to aid 
Ferguson, if yet in a condition to be relieved, and finally 
induced his Lordship to depart iw hot haste from Charlotte, 
with all his army. Tarleton proceeded a south-westerly 
course, fifteen or twenty miles, to Smith's Ford, below the 
Forks of the Catawba, where he received certain intelli- 
gence of tlie melancholy fate of Ferguson, and crossed the 
ri\'er "to give protection " as he says, "to the fugitives," — 
a small number of whom, he adds, his light troops picked 
up, all of which must have been the result of his 

At length, while Tarleton was absent, Cornwallis re- 
ceived definite information of Ferguson's downfall ; and 
Tarleton gives a sombre picture of the unhappy influence 
it exerted upon both the British and Tories. "Added," 

* MS. niirralivc of Rnherl Henry, \vlio licaril the ili.ilomie between the ncntrals and 
Kwin and liarry, and had the particulars of the interview of the British otTicers, from David 
Knox liimself. 







he saj'S, "to the depression and fear it coiiimiinicatod totlio 
Loyalists upon the borders, and to the southward, the etlect 
ot' such an important event was sensibly felt by Lord 
Cornwallis at Charlotte Town. The weakness of his army, 
the extent and poverty of North Carolina, tlie want of 
knowledge of his enemy's designs, and the total ruin of his 
militia, presented a gloomy jirost^<'ct at the commencement 
ot the camjiaign. A farther progress by the route which 
he liad undertaken, could not possibly remove, but would 
undoubtedly increase his didlculties ; he, therefore, formed 
a sudden determination to quit Cluirlotte Town, and pass 
the Catawba river. The army was ordered to move, and 
expresses were dispatched to recall Lieutenant-Colonel 
Tarleton." * 

About sunset, on the evening of the fourteenth of Octo- 
ber, the British army took up its line of march towards 
the Old Nation Ford on the Catawba. They had lor a 
guitle William McCaflerty, an Irishman, who had for 
several years been a merchant at Charlotte ; remaining 
there when the enemy came, endeavoring to save his 
property; but whatever were his professions to the British, 
he phiNcd his new friends a sharp trick — a shabby one, no 
doubt, in their estimation. About two miles below Char- 
lotte, he led them on a wrong road towards Park's, since 
Barnett's mill ; he at length suggested that they must be 
out of the wa}', and he would ride a little to the left to get 
righted ; but as soon as out of their sight, lie left them to 
tlieir fate. The}' were two miles to the right of the road they 
intended to have taken — the night was dark, and, being 
near Cedar creek, they were intercepted by high hills and 
deep ravines. Endeavoring to file to the lef't, to regain the 
riglu road, tlie}- became separated into ditlerent parties, 
and kept up a hallooing to learn which way their connades 
had gone. By midnight they were three or fom* miles 
apart, and appeared to be panic-struck, lest the Americans 

"■■■Tarlctoiis Caiii/>aigns, 166. 






— tlie dreacled mountaineers — should come upon iliem in 
their pitiful situation. They did not get together until noon 
the next day, about seven miles from Charlotte. Owing to 
the difficult passes tln-y took, and the darkness of the 
night, together with the scare that befell them, the rear 
guard left behind tliem near twenty wagons, says Tarleton 
— forty, says General Graham — and considerable booty, 
including a printing press and other stores, togeUier with the 
baggage of Tarleton's Legion.* 

Reaching the Old Nation Ford, the river was too high 
to cross with safety. In consequence of a dangerous fever, 
which suddenly attacked Lord Cornwallis, as the result of 
heav}- rains and severe exposures, and the want of forage 
and provisions, the army renuiined two days in an anxious 
and miserable situation in the Catawba Indian settlement, 
until his physicians declared that his Lordship's condition 
would (.:ndure the motion of a wagon. Meanwhile, the 
treacherous pilot, McCalVertv, had hastened to the Whig 
Colonel Da\'ie's encampment, reaching there early in 
the mornmg, and communicating the tidings of the 
enemy's retreat. Davie, with his small squadron of 
cavalry, hung upon their rear and flanks, but could 
gain no advantage over them. Crossing the Catawba 
near Twelve Mile creek, the army at length reached 
Winnsboro, a distance of some seventv miles, on the 
twenty-ninth of the month, after a two weeks' march; 
encountering sickness, difficulties, and privations of the 
most serious character. 

Major Hanger relates, that he and ^wc other officers had 
the yellow fe\-er, as he terms it, and were placed in wagons 
when tlie army evacuated Charlotte ; that, in passing 
swollen streams, the straw on which they lay in the 
vehicles frequently became wet, which aggravated their 
sickness, and all, save himself onlv, died of fatigiu' and 


!!■■ ' 

; I 

•General Graham's Revnlulio'niry History o/ Xnrth CaroliniX, in Xort/i Carolina, 
Vnh'frsity Mtxgazine, April, 1830. pp. loi-a ; rarlctun's Caiii/'aigns, iby 


m I 





/i:/NG 'S A/0 UNTAIN 

exposure during the first week of the march, and were 
buried in the woods, while the jaded troops were moving 
forward as rapidly as possible. So low was Major Hanger 
reduced, that his bones protruded through his skin, and his 
life was only saved by the use of opium and port wine.* 

But for their Tory associates, the suflerings of the army, 
great as they were, would have been still more aggravated. 
For several days in succession it rained without inter- 
mission ; the soldiers had no tents, and the roads were over 
their shoes in water and mud. At night the army en- 
camped in the woods, in a most unhealthy climate, and for 
many days, Stedman adds, the\' were entirely without rum. 
The water they drank was frequently as thick as in puddles 
by the road side. Sometimes they had beef and no bread ; 
at other times bread, or corn, and no beef. For five days 
the troops were supported upon Indian corn alone, which 
was gathered as it stood in the field, five cars of which 
were the allowance for two soldiers for twenty-four hours. 
The Tory militia taught the regulars how best to adapt it for 
use. Taking their tin canteens, they would cut them up, and 
punch holes through the strips witli their bayonets, and then 
use them as a rasp, or grater, on which to grate their corn, 
and prepare it for cooking. The idea was communicated 
to the Adjutant-General, and afterwards adopted through- 
out the army. \ 

By their acquaintance with the countr}'. being mounted 
on '^'M'seback, and inured to the climate, the Tor}' militia 
would go forth daily inquest of provisions, being frequently 
obliged to pass through rivers, creeks, woods and swamps, 
to secure beef cattle for the support of the army. "With- 
out their assistance," says Stedman, " it would have been 
impossible to have supplied the troops in the field." 
Some of these men, when a creek was reached, ditlieult, 
from its steep banks, and its clayey, slippery soil, to cross, 

* Life pf Hanger, ii, pp. 408-1 r. 
f StL'dman's American War, ii, 224 


Oi 1 


would take tlie place of the horses, beinj^^ harnessed in their 
stead, and dra<,f the wagons through the stream. Sted- 
man, one of Cornwallis' ofllcers, gives us some inklings of 
the treatment of these Tory benefactors of their army, bv 
the British oHicers; " We are sorr\' to say," observes this 
candid historian, *' that in retiu'n for these exertions, the 
militia vs'ere maltreated bv abusive language, and even beaten 
b}' some officers in the Quarter-Master General's depart- 
ment. In consequence of this ill usage, several of them 
left the army the next morning forever, choosing to run 
the risk of meeting the resentment of their enemies, rather 
than submit to the derision and abuse of those to whom the}' 
looked up as friends.* 

Cornwallis, with his arm}-, was now at Winnsboro, 
nearly midway between Camden and Ninety vSix. and 
within supporting distance of either. According to Lord 
Rawdon, the second in command, it is evident tliat the 
British leaders were happy, after all their toils and sutTerings, 
to fmd that "Ninety Six was safe " t — that the much- 
dreaded mountaineers had fortunately turned their faces 
northwardly, instead of towards the fortress where Cruger 
commanded, and which they might easily have reached 
long before it could possibly have been relieved by the 
storm, mud, and sick-bound army en route from Charlotte to 

Through the Tories, doubtless. Lord Cornwallis learned 
in time of the executions by the mountaineers of the Lo3-al- 
ists at Bickerstaff's, near Gilbert Town, and wrote to the 
American commanders threatening retaliation. General 
Gates, in transmitdng these complaints to Congress, 
expressed the opinion that *' no person ought to be executed, 
but after legal conviction, and by order of die supreme civil 
or military authority, in the department where the offence 
is committed ; but I must confess my astonishment at Lord 

: ■ !^ 

- . ' 

, 1 'j 

= !■ 

*Stedman, ii, 525. 

■}■ Cornwallis' CoTetpondetiee, i, 496. 








C(M-n\vallis' finding fault with a cnu'lt\- he aiul his otllcers 
are constantly praelisiiii;" — this is crvin;^' roi^iie lirst." 

Ci)niinenlin<4" on this passant', Henry .S. Randall pertin- 
ently observes: '• Supreme eivil or niilitarv authority " was 
not much better than a name, in tlie locality and e.\iy;ency ; 
and was quite as well represented, in our jud_n;ment, as it 
C(nild elsewhere have been, in the intelligent and respon- 
sible gentlemen — lor emphatically ihey were such — who, 
by their own danger and exertions, had done what no 
lormalK' constituted •• authority "' was able to do; and, if 
the victors of King's Mountain hung fewer men than the 
documents found on P>ritish officers clearh- pnni-d had 
bei'U executed of Americans by their orders, they enforced 
less, we believe, than the full measure of rightful and 
proper retaliation. And there is not a doubt that Uie prac- 
tical elVect of the measure was good, not only on the British 
Lieutenant-General. but on the parricides who were so keen 
to scent out. among their countrymen, the breakers of 
enforced and withdrawn paroles. The hunt became less 
intently amusing, wlu-n it was understood diat the hunter 
placed the noose that had strangled his victim, around his 
own neck, in the event of his capture. * 

The threatened retaliation by Cornwall! .. addressoil in 
the hrst instance to General Smallwood, and then to Gen- 
er,d Gales, was left as a K-gacy for General Greene, on his 
succeeding Gates in the command of the Southern depart- 
ment : and he met it in a calm and clignilleil manner. " I 
am,' he wrote to his Lordship. '* too much a stranger to the 
transaclions at Gilbert Town to reply fully to that .--'.ibiect. 
They must ha\e been committed betbre \\\\ anival in the 
department, and by persons under the character of volun- 
teers, wlio were indejiendent of the army. Ilowexer, if 
there was anything done in that atVair contrary to the prin- 
ciples of humanity and the law of nations, and for which 
they had not the conduct of your armv as a precedent. I 
.shall be ever ready to testify my disapprobation of it. The 

* Life 0/ Jefferson, i, 282, 




i- r 







. I 



first exaiiijilc w.i.s I'm ni.shfil »)ii N uiii part, as ;ipin'ar.s by iho 
list of unhappy siilU'rors enclosed ; and it might have been 
expectoil, that tin- iViends of the unfortunate should follow 
it. Puuishiuif tapitally for a brcaili ol" niiHtar\- paioK-, is 
u severity that the principles of modern war will not author- 
ize, unless till' inhabitants are to be treated as a concpu-red 
people, and subji-ct to all the rijjfor of niilitarv ifoverniuent. 
The feeliuirs of mankind will forewr decide, when the 
rights of humanity are invaded. I lea\e tln'in to )ud};e of 
the tendencv of your Lordship's order to Lieutenant-Col- 
onel Balfour after the action near Camden, of Lord 



Lawden's proclamation, and of Tarleton's layinj;' waslt 
country, and distressing the inhabitants, who were taught 
to expect protection and security, if tlu-y observed but a 
neutrality. Sending the inhabitants of Charleston to St. 
Augustine, contrary to the articles of capitulation, is a 
violation which I have also to represent, and which I hope 
3'our Lordship will think yourself bound to redress." 

The enclosed list referred to was this : '* \Vi"iam Stroud 
and INIr. Uowell, executed near Rock}' Blount, without a 
trial, by order of Lieutent-Colonel Turnbull : Richard 
Tucker, Samuel Andrews, and John Miles, hangetl at 
Camden by order of Lord Cornwallis ; Mr. Ji)hns()ii. hanged 
since the action of Blackstocks, by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Tarleton ; about thirty persons hanged at Augusta by 
Colonel Browne ; Adam Cusick hanged at Pedee by one 
Colonel Mills."* 

'■'Gordon's Amerkan Wnr. iv. pp. 2S-29. 

The Ciilnncl Mills licrc rcfirred to, must not be confovindi.d with Colonel Ambrose 
Mills, of King's Moiint.TJn iiuMiiory, one of the unfortunates executed at UickerstafT's. 
\Villi.Tin Hinry Mills, mentioned by General Greene, belonged in the ("heraw region, and 
served in (he- Smith Carolina Prnvinrial Consrcss. early in the rontesi ; but suh>.ei|uently 
jiined the Ibiiish, and was made a Colonel, Siirvivini; the war, he retired to laniaica, and 
then to England, where he <licd in 1R07. 

P'Ut from ludce J.imes' Life of M.trion, and Grecg's Histi^ry 0/ iltr Chernivs. il is very 
question. ihle if Colonel Mills was responsible for the execution of Cusack. 'riiosc well- 
it, formed writers clearly charge that act upon Colonel Wemyss. Cusack was accused, 
according to one account, of no other crime than refusing to transport some British ollicers 
over a ferry, and shooting at them airross the river ; while another statement has it, that he 
shot at the servant of a Tory officer, John Brockinyton, whom he knew, across P.lack 
crcjk. I'aken prisoner by the enemy, he was tried, and condemned on the evidence of 
the negro. 

I i 




Ik'iv liajipily imuUuI tlip lliri>atctu>(l retaliation on the 
part of' Lord L'ornwallis tor tiie t-xocution of llu- Loyalist 
leacKrs taki-ii at Kinj^'s Mountain. It was wi-ll tiiat his 
Lordship ri'lraini'd from oxcri-isin;^^ a power that coidd only 
iiavt- faiini'd llie llanu'S of desohition thnnigliout the south- 
ern horders. The inhumanities praetiei'd on both sides in 
that distracted quarter were aheady but too di-phirable in 
their eharaeter, and nccckHl not fresh provocations to inten- 
sity their brutality, or add to the fretjuetuy of their 
occurrence. It was generally said, and bi'lieved, that in 
the di>lrict of Ninety Six alone, fourteen hundred unhappy 
widows and orphans were left to bemoan the fate of their 
unfortunate fathers, husbands and brothers, killed and mur- 
dered during tlie course of the war. * 

Good words for the victory and victors of Kin<f's Moun- 
tain have not been wanting. General Gates returned thanks, 
through Colonel Campbell and his associates, "to the brave 
oflici'is and soldiers under your command, for your and 
their glorious behavior in the action ; the records of the 
war will transmit your names and theirs to posterity, with 
the highest honors and applause;" and he desired to 
express the sense he enti-rtained of '' the great service they 
had done their country." General Washington proclaimed 
the result in General Orders to the army, as " an import- 
ant object gained," and ''a proof of the spirit and resources 
of the cuuntiy ; " while Congress expressed in its resolves, 
'' a high sense of the spirited and military conduct of 
Colonel Campbell, and the ofllcers and privates of the 
militia under his command, displayed in the action of 
October seventh, in which a complete victory was obtained." 
This marked success over Ferguson, and the heroic conduct 
of the riflemen at Guilford, convinced General Greene, that 
" the militia of the back country are formidable." " Camp- 
bell's glorious success at King's Mountain," was the terse 
encomium of Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, of the Legion 

*Moultrie's il/««o»Vf . ii, 343. 




Cavalry. " It was a sharp atlioii," said Chief Juslici' 
Marshall, ^Milled by " tho victorious niouiilaincers." 

" No battle," says Lossinj^, " diirin;^ llie war. was more 
o])stinateIy contested than this ; it co'iiplelely crushed the 
spirits of tlie Loyalists, anil weakened, beyond ri'coverv, 
tlu' royal power in the Carolinas." * "The victory at 
King's Mountain," observes Bancroft, " which in the spirit 
of the American soldii'rs was like tlu- rising at Concord, in 
its ellects like the success at Bennington, changed the 
aspects of the war. The Loyalists of North Carolina no 
longer dared rise. It fired the patriots of the two Caro- 
linas with fresh zeal. It encouraged the fragments of the 


efeated and scattered American army to seek eacii other, 
and organize themselves anew. It cjuickened the North 
Carolina Le<iislature to earnest ellorts. It encoura<red 
Virtfitiia to devote her resources to the countrv south of her 
border. The appi'arance on the frontiers of a numerous 
enemy from settlements bi-yond the mountains, whose verv 
names had been unknown to the British, took Cornwallis 
by surprise, and their success was fatal to his intended 
expedition. He had hoped to step with ease from one 
Carolina to the other, and from tliose to the contjuest of 
Virginia; and he had now no choice but to retreat." f 

When all the circumstances, continues the same distin- 
guished historian, are considered, the hardihood of the 
conception, the brilliancy of the execution, and the 
important train of consequences resulting from it, there 
was nothing in the North more so. except the surrender 
at Saratoga. It is not to be imagined, that the assemb- 
lage of the troops was an accidental and tumultuous 
congregation of men, merely seeking wild adventures. 
On the contrary, although each step in the progress of the 
enterprise seemed to be characterized by a daring impulse, 
yet the purpose had been coolly conceived, and its execution 


*/"/(•/./ Hook of t'lf Ki'voJutinn, ii, pp. 438-39, 
•(■ History of the I iiitdJ states, x, 3.(0, 





(U'libi'rati'ly plaiiiu'd in a tcMiipcr of not less wisdom than 
Iiardilioocl. * 

Irviii}^ di'ilari's, that '* ihi' battle ot" I<iiii,f's Mountain, 
ini'onsidiTahli' as it was in the ninnbrrs cn^a^cd. turiu'd 
tiu' tide tif Souliu'in wailaii'. 'I'h*' (h'slnulioii of l'\"ri;;ns()n 
and his corps ;^avi' a (.•onii^K'ti.' I'hivk to \\w cxpi'dition of 
Cornwalhs. I K' licj^an to tVar Ibr the salbiy t)l" South Caro- 
lina, haiik- to suiii suddi'U iiruplious iVoin iht' mountains; 
U'sl, wiiiU' hi' was facinif to thi> noith, thesi' bordcs of 
stark-iidiniLj warriors might thiow tlu'm,sri\i's bcliiud iiim, 
and proihici' a popuhu* lomlinstiou in thi' I'roviiut- In- had 
left. IK- rc\s()I\rd, thi'rt'tbrt', to return with all speed to 
that I'rovinee, ami piovide for its security."* 

Lord Cornwallis I'ully reco<j[ni/,od the extent of the threat 
disaster. lIissud(U>n ri-treat into South Carolina showed 
it. l'\'rL;uson. he saiil, '* had taken inlinite pains with 
some ot'tlie militia ot' Ninety Six," and had conlitU'nee that 
tluw Wduld tiuht well, which his Lordship doubted; and 
yet Cornwallis sullered him to go on a distant service, 
without any regulars, artillery, or cavalry for his support, 
and tlu- result was, as his Lordship acknowledges, that 
Ferguson was "totally defeated at King's Mountain." 
The discouraging eOect of that crushing disaster on the 
Tories, may well be judginl from Cornwallis' dispatch to 
Sir Ilenrv- Clinton: "The militia of Ninety six," he 
observes, " on which alone W'> could place the smallest 
dependence, was so totally dishi'arteneil by the defeat of 
Ferguson, that of that whole district wt> could withdifli- 
culty asseiuble one hundred ; and (.'wn thosi', I am con- 
vinced, would not have made the smallest resistance if they 
had been attacked." "The defeat of Major r\'i-guson." 
wrote Lord Rawdon, " had so dispirited tliis part of the 
countrv, and indeed the Loyal subjects were so wearied by 
the long continuance of the campaign, that Lieutenant- 

*M?. statement of Hon. Oenrge U.incrofi, preservcil liy (Icncr-il Preston. 
•{■ Irving s Wailchi/^toii, iv, pp. 193-94. 





Colonel C'niL^ir, coiiiinaiulint,' at Niiu-ly Six, snil inlnrma- 
lioii Id Lmd C'tirinvallis, tlial llu- wIidIc di.sliii t had (ictiT- 
iniiuil to .siihinil as .soon as tin- l<t!)ils should cult r it;" 
and, a liltli- latiM", Loril CornwaHis wrote: " Tlie loiislant 

iniursioiis of ieru<r«H'S, North C', !5aik Mountai 


nu'ii, and llic piTin-tnal nsin;^s \\\ dilhii'iil jiaiis o 



l'ro\ iiuf. the iiuariabli' siiccessos of all thosi* parties aL;ainst 
our militia, keep the wiiole eouiUi'N' in eontinual alarm, ami 
ri'iuler the assistance of ix-^uhu' troops e\ei'y\\ here iieees- 
sary. * 

Sir Henry Clinton, llie Ihilish (."otninandei-in-i-hiil' iu 
America, blamed I^ord CornwaHis lor delacliinj^' l"\'rt,fuson 
without any support of regular troops, when hi.'. I.nrdsliip 
had previously stated, that l'\'rnuson"s hopes of success on 
hi'^ Torx niililia " wi-re contrary to liie e.\|)erit'nce of die 
army, as wi'li as of Major l'\'ri4'uson himst-H";" and *' that 
his Lordship," wrote vSir j Icury, " should, d/'tcr f/iis opinion^ 
not oidy sutler Coloiu'l l-'i-ri^nison to be delached without 
support, but i^ut such a river as the Catawba bi'lweeii iiim 
and Ferguson, was a matter of wduder to .Sir II. Clinton 
and all who knew it." f 

"Great and glorious I'' was the i-\clamation of CJeiuTal 
Gates, when the tidings of the <:;rand Iriiuuph of the KiiiL;"s 
Mountain men reached him. " That memorrhk- Ni.lory," 
declared the i^atriotjellerson, "was (he joyful aniumciation of 
thai turn of the tide of succi>ss, which liMininated the Revo- 
lutionary war with thi- si-al of indepencU'nce." And richl\- 
dill the heroes, who marched under Campbell's banners, 
desi-rve all the praise so generously bi'stoweil upon them. 
Kinj^'s Mountain pavi-d the way for the succi'ssive ad- 
vantages n^ained b\' the American arms at First Dam I'ord, 
lilackstocks, Cowpens, Guilford, and Eutaw ; and ulti- 
matel\- for the crowninij victory of York Town, with the 
glorious fruition of " INDEPENDENCE F(M<E\'ER." 

♦Ciirnwallis' Corresfiondencc. i. pp. fj. 8f>-Si, 497-98. 
f Clinion's Obsf-'ations on Stcdnian. 







?'i (6 

; ! 


s is: 



1 E- 

Gen. \A/illiam Campbell. 

His Si otili- Irish Anctstry. — His l-'atlur an Early Holston Explorer. — 
William CamfibtU's IHr/li a>ui lultication. — Settles on llolstoii. — .-/ 
Captain on Dnnniore's Cnntpaign. — Raised a Company for the first 
I'irt^inia Reiiintent in IJJS- — Returns for the Defenee of the /■yon- 
tiers. — //is A/ilitary .Ippointnients. — Rencounter luith and //anging 
of the liandit Hopkins.— Suppressing Tories up /Ve7U Riiur. — 
A'ing's y/ouni.iin Expediti ii—his Ih-avery I'iitdieated. — Public 
Thanlcs for his Sendees — Marches to Long Island of I/olston. — 
At WhitzelFs Mills and Guilford. — /designs front Ill-treatment. — 
Made Brigadier-General. — Serz'es under Lli Fayette. — Death and 
Character. — Notices of his King's Mountain Officers. 

The Campbell family, from which the hero of Kirifr's 
Mountain desceniled, were originally from Inverary, Argyll- 
shire, connected with the famous Campbell clans of the 
Highlands of Scotland ; and emigrated to Ireland near the 
close of the reign of Qiieen Elizabeth — about the year 
i6oo. The northern portion of Ireland received, at that 
perioc', large accessions of Scotch Prott'stants, who proved 
valuable and useful citizens. Here the Camjibells continued 
to live for several generations, until at length John Caaip- 
bell, with a family of ten or twelve children, removed to 
America in 1726, and settled first in Donegal, Lancaster 
Comity, PennsN'lvania, where we find one of his sons, Pat- 
rick Campbell, born in 1690, serving as a constable in \ ,'ic). 
About i7.:;o, John Campbell, with three of his sons, Patrick 
among them, removed from Pennsylvania to what was then 
a part of Orange, now Augusta County, in the rich valley 
of Virginia.* Another authority assigns 1738 as the time 
of this migration. f 

*MS. statements of Cmv Daviil Catnphcll ; Fdote's SX,'/,/irr of \'ir^nia, ..._ ond series, 
pp. 114, 117; Riipp's llistinyof Lancaster County, Pa., 185; Mombcrt's Lancaster, 120. 
f R. A. Hrock, Ksq., in Kichinond Standard, }u\y 10th, 1880. 



Among tlio chililrcn ot" Palriik Campbell, who thus early 
settled in Western \'irginia, was Charles, who seems to 
have been born in Ireland before tlu removal of the family 
to the New World, lie became a prominent and ellieient 
pionei'r of the Augusta Valley. He early married a Miss 
liuchanan, whose fatlicr, John I»aclianan, Sr., had figured 


m the wars of Scotland ; antl iVom this union sj^rang 
William Campbell, who subsetpu'nlly led the Seolch-Irisli 
patriots of the Ilolston \'alley against Ferguson at King's 
Mountain. He was born in Augusta County in 17.^5 : and, 
though reared on that remote frontier, and amid the excite- 
ments and tlangers of the French anil Inilian war of 1755- 
(i}^y yet he was c-nabled, as an only son, to secuii- the best 
education muler the best tiMchers of that period — David 
Robinson, a tine scholar, having been, it is beliexed. among 
his instructors, as he was of many others of the youth of 
Augusta of that day. Young Camjibell acijuired a correct 
knowledyc of the Enjjlish hmguaiie, ancient and modern 
history, and several branches of the mathem-.itics.* 

His father, Charles Campbell, was not only an enterpris- 
ing farmer of Augusta, but early engaged in western 
exploration, and in the accjuisit'on of the rich wild lands 
of the country. Tn April, 174S, he made an exploring tour 
down the Ilolston, in company with Doctor 'i'homas 
Walker, Colonel James Palton, James Wood, and John 
Buciuinan, together wiUi a number ol" Inmti'rs and wood- 
men. It was on this occasion that Campbell located a line 
tract on the North Fork of Ilolston, where \ aluable salt 
springs were afterwartl iliscovered, for which he obtaineil a 
patent from the (JoviMiior of X'irginia in 175,^ It jnoNed a 
areat benefit alike to his descenilants and the countrx . In 
an old manuscript written apparency in 1750, it is stated 
that "John Buchanan anil Charles Campbell do not go 
out this fall " — indicating a contemplated removal, probably 

J \ 

*Ca\. Arthur CampbeU's MS. Sketch of Oeii. William C.imphtll ; Oov. Ciiuphcll's MS, 

iii i 

li ^ 

1 I 

A'AVG^ '5 ArO UXTAI.y 

to the Hols'. >n frontiers. As early as i7-j2. Charles Camp- 
bell was enrolled as a niilitia-man in th ; company of John 
Buchanan; and, in 1752, he was cliosen a Captain, and 
doubtless rendered service in tin' defence of the Aui^usta 
Valley during die lon^ period of Indian irruptions anil 
disturbances of I]radd(jck's war. In the latter part of his 
life he became intemperate, and cut short his career, d\ iiii^ 
carl}- in 1767.* 

At his father's death, William Campbell, then a young- 
man of about twenty-two, rt-sohed to remove with hi.s 
mother anil four young sisters,! to the frontiers of Holston. 
They migrated there, locating on a line tract called Aspen- 
vale, twenty-one miles east of the Wolf Hills, now the 
pleasant town of Abingdon, and one mile west of the 
Seven Mile Ford. In 1773, he was appointed among the 
earliest Justices of FincasLle County, and, in i 774, a Captain 
of tile militia. Allh(n)''ii an onl\' son, and inheriting a 
considerable property-, he never yielded to the fashionable 
follies of young men of fortune. Devoted to the o]iening 
and culture of a plantation in the wilderness, nothing 
occurred to interfere with the routine of farm lite till the 
breaking out of the Indian war in 1774, when '^'^' •■!''''<-'(l ^i 
company of^oung men, and joining Colonel Christian's regi- 
miiU, pursued raiiidly to overtake Colonel Andrew Lewis, 
who had jireceded them to Point Pleasant, at the mouth 
of the Kenhawa, where a decisive battle was fought, beating 
back the vShawanoes and allied tribes. Colonel Christian's 
re-inforcement, though they made a forced march, did not 
reach the battle-ground till midnight succeeding the engage- 
menl. Thenext morning tin irmy crossed the Ohio, hasten- 
ing to join Lord Dunmore, with another ili\ision. at the Pick- 

'■'MS. records of Ar.'.'iistn County. Va. ; Winlorlioili.iin's Aiiierira, iii, ;;^o; Morse's 
Cei\^t;i/ilir, ud 17)7; ilu , t-d. iHo<;. i, 088 ; Smti s Oii>i;tii/>hiuil Oirtii^nary, 1805; ("mthrie's 
G^vi^r.ifiliy. iHi^ ii. 472; MS Diary of Dr. Tliomns Walkir. wliicli alone shows tlie correct 
d.itc of Cli irlis Campbell's c.\p!or:uinn of tlie Molsion Valley. 

-j-The clikst, F.lizabctli. m.irricd John T.iylor ; J:im.'. Thomas rate; Marjarct. Col. 
Arthnr l'ani|iln-ll ; and Ann, Richard I'oMon -all men of yreat respcclaliilily, leavin,i; 
numeruu.s descendants. 

AND rrs /[/■/w/:s. 


a\v;i\- plains on tlie Scioto, \vlu>ri' his Lordship concluded a 
treaty of peace with llie deleati'd and iiumbled Indian 
tribes. Thus was Captain Catnpbell, with all his zeal to 
eni,fai;e in active service, and after ha\inj^r traveled hun- 
dreds of' miles throuj^h the wilderness iVoni soutii-western 
Virginia to tin; lu'art of the Ohio countr\-. compelled to 
sheathe Iiis sword, and retuin ai^niin to his peaceful homi'on 
the Ilolston. 

l^he aiLji^ressions of the British ministr\' on the ricrhis 
of American freemen had alreadv made a (\vvyi imjiri-ssion 
on the minds of the frontier people. W'h'le at Fort (iower, 
at the mouth of the ITockhockini,^, returnint,f from the Scioto 
expedition, the troops di-clared, on the fif'th of' Novi-mbcr, 
1774 — Captain Campbell, no doubt, amonjr the number — 
that, '"as the love of Lilierty, and attachment to the real 
interests and just rii^hts of .America outweigh every other 
consiileration, we resolve that wi' will exert I'vi'rv pcnver with- 
in us f'or the defe.:ce of American Liberty, and i'orthe support 
of her just rights and privili'ges." And on the iwenlielh of 
Jamiary ensuing, Co](»nels Preston and Christian, Arthur and 
William Camplu'll, together with \Villiam Edmondson, 
Reverend Charles Cummings, and other leaders of' Fin- 
castle County, comprising the Ilolston st'ttk'nu'nts. stMit a 
calm and patriotic address to the Continental Congress, 
announcing, that ''if no pacific measures shall be jiroposed 
or adojHed bv CJreat Britain, and our eiii'inies attempt to 
dragoon us out of those ini^stimable privileges which wcare 
entitled to as subjects, and ri'duce us to slavery, wi' declare 
that wcare deliberately and resolutely determined ni"\er to 
surrend(.>r them to any power upon earth but at the expense 
of our li\es. These are our real, though unpolished, si'iili- 
ments of liberty and lo\ality. and in tluMu we are resolved 
to live and dii." * These were noble declarations of 
William Campbell and associates, proclaimed three months 
bef'ore the fu'st clang of arms at T^exington. four anterior to 

" Aiiii'iuaii Ari hh'i's. Fourth Scries, i, 9O3, ii63. 



I'r' * 







the patriotic ivsolves of the people of Meeklenburif, five 
before the deacllv strife on Bunker Hill, and nearly a year 
and six months before the immortal Declaration of Inde- 
pendence by Congress. These sentimenls of the men 
of Ilolston formed the key-note of their patriotic eflbrts 
throughout the Revolution — and thev never flagged a mo- 
ment, while life lasted, till their liberties were secured. 

At length war burst upon the country. Captain Camp- 
bell, who had pledged himself at Fort Gow r, in 1774, to 
exert every power within him in the defence of American 
liberty, and subsequenlly renewed the solemn declaration 
"to live and die" in support of the great principles for 
which Bruce and Wallace, and Hampden and Sydney had, 
in the past, contended, now entered warmly into the con- 
test, raiding the lirst company in south-western Virginia in 
support of the common cause, marching to Williamsburg 
with his hunting-shirt riflemen, in September, 1775, and 
taking their place in the First Virginia regiment under the 
command of the famous Patrick Ilenrv. His commission 
as Captain bore date December tifteenth of that year. 
Owing to the regiment's confinement to the inactivities 
of camp life, and the slights and indignities meted out to 
him, Henry at length resigned the command, when his men 
who were devoted to him, went into mourning. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Christian succeeded to the command, and the 
regiment was placed on Continental establishment under 
General Andrew Lewis ; and shared in dislodging Dunmore 
from Gwyn's Island, July ninth, 1776 — the British not 
fancying a too close contact with the frontier rifiemen, 
exclaimed, as they came in sight, "the shirt-men are 
coming!" when they, panic-stricken, precipitateh' evacu- 
ated the Island. 

Shortly after, intelligence came that the Cherokees, 
instigated by British agents and emissaries, had attacked 
the frontiers, when Colonel Christian resigned, and returned 
to the Ilolston country to lead an expedition against the 




hostile Indians. When Captain Campbell heard of these 
border troubles, he felt not a little uneasy on account of the 
unprotected situation of his mother and sisters ; and wrote 
to Major Arthur Campbell, expressing the hope that all the 
women and children in the Ilolston coimtry might be 
gathered into forts, thus enabling the men to engage in 
repelling the enemy, adding: "I iiave the most cogent 
reasons for endeavoring to resign, and can, I think, do so 
with honor ; and if I possibly can, I shall be witli you 
He felt it was his duty to repair to the frontiers, 


" * 

and lend all his aid in their defence. But he was nut able 
to leave the service till near the close of the year, and thus 
failed to share in Christian's expedition against tlie Chero- 
kees. T3ut the delay, perhaps, aided him in securing a 
noble companion for life, in the person of Miss Elizabeth 
Ilenrv, a sister of his old commander, Patrick Henry — the 
unrivalled orator and statesman of the Revolution. During 
this service of over a yeai 'n eastern Virginia, Captain 
Campbell acquired a practical knowledge of militar}- tactics, 
and the discipline of an army, which proved of great value 
to him in his subsequent campaigns to King's Mountain 
and Guilford. 

On his return home he found the Cherokees, having 
been subdued, were quiet lor awhile. The large County 
of Fincastle, embracing much of south-western Virginia 
and all of Kentucky, was sub-divided ; and on the organi- 
zation of Washington County, in January, 1777, he was con- 
tinued a mcmberof the Justices' Court, and made Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the militia, Arthur Campbell having been made 
County Lieutenant or Colonel Commandant, and Evan 
Shelby, Colonel. At this term cjf the court, William Cam[>- 
bell, William Edmondson. and two others were appointed 
commissioners to hire -iVcio-ons to bring up t/ic Cr'iir.tx salt 
allotted by the Government and Council, and receive and 
distribute the same, making it necessary to wagon the salt 

♦MS. letter, August ist. 1776. 


I ! 







- i 





i - 

,. i 


S 1 

1 ^' 


' IB' 

' ■ 

1 f 

1 1 



lully tour huiulri'd r.iilcs, oviM* rou^li roads, iVoin W'illiains- 
Iniii;. This was sovcral yi'ars In-iori' tlu' rich sail wells were 
(liseovered on Colonel Canipbell's lands on North Ilolston. 
in llu> I'.ill ot" this Colonel Campbell, lia\iiii; been 
appointed a eonunissionei- tor running the boundary line 
between \'iruinia and the Chei-okei-s. probably in lullill- 

nienl ot stipi 

tiindalions ol" the tri'at\ at Lonif Ishuul ot' i lolslo 

July 1 

necedniij^. pert«)rpied tins ser\ let 



Inie e.\- 


tending' tVoni the nionth ol" Bi^ ereek to tin- lii^h knob on 
Cinnberland Mountain, a tew miles Wi-st ot" L'uiidieiland 
Gap.* Duiino' the year 177S, he seems to havi- bei-n 
en;^an"ed in no special public service. 

In the sunnner ot" 1779, there was a jtarlial ujirisinif of 
Tories in Ah)ntm)merv County, where Colonel Walter 
Crockett, by his eneroy. succeeded in quelling" the insur- 
rection bet"ore it had ii'.uned much heailwaw The same Torv 
spirit had extended itselt" into Washin_i;ti)n County — and 
even into the Watauija and Nolachucky settlements ; but the 
leaders were not open in tlu-ir movements — rather like 
bandits, struck their blows in the ilark. under disguises and 
concealments. Colonel Campbell was very out-sjioken 
against them. I lis i>"ates were placarded, threatening his 
lil"e ; and an attempt was made to take him. ol" a ilark ni<fht, 
and in a ileep forest, by two of these desperadoes, but they 
mi>took their man — otherwise Colonel Campbell \\ould have 
probably lost his life at their hands. 

Not k)ng after, when he was returnino- from the Ebbing 
Spring mee'dng house, where he had been hearing a good 
Presbyterian sermon, mounted on horseback, accompanied 
bv his wile, his cousin John Campbell and family. Captain 
James Dysart and wile, James Fullen, a man named Karris, 
an x\trican negro named Thomas, and others, he discovered 
a man approaching, on horseback, uho turned off into the 
woods — a suspicious circumstance. Colonel Campbell did 
not personalh' know him, but John Campbell, who tlid, told 

■^MS. pension statement of Ch.Trles Hickley. 


/IjVD /TS If!'. roes., 

tlic Colonel llial it was iM-aiicis Hopkins, the Tory biin- 
r a year or more Hopkins had j,nvcn tlic County 


nuthoriiifs much troubK' : ihry li.ul imposod hcav\ lines upoi 
him Ibr his rascalilii-s, ."ul liad placi'd him under heavy 
bonds. lie had been Inund i.;uiU\- of ]iassinL( counlerfeit 
money — was ordt>recI imprisoned at Cocke's l-'urt on Kenfroe 
creek, dll the county jail should becf.mpleted ; and when the 
new structure was reaily lur occupancy, it was a rickettv 
aflair, and Hopkins one dark nij^dit was released Ironi his 
conlineinentbv the aid of svmpaUjizin'^ Tories, who m-icd the 

jail door from its hin<,a's, and carried it half a mile uw 
Thus the bandit and counterfeiter evaded furtl 

ler imprison- 

t, and snapped his lini^'ers at justice, i le iled to the 
nearest British jLjainson — probably in Georgia — where he 
obtained a commir.sion, with letters to the Cherokee Indians 
and the whilt' emissaries among- tliem, urging them to tall 
upon the frontier setders with fagot, knife, and tomahawk. 
He was, in ever}' sense, an infamous Tory, and adangerou'< 

Upon learning the name of the stranger, Colonel Camp- 
bell instantly put spurs to his horse, and gave chase to the 



bandit: and in the course of one or two miles, rt 
the deep ford of the INIiddle Fork of Ilolston,* about a mile 
above where Captain Thompson then lived, Hopkins, who 
was mounted on afmehorsc, rode down a steep blulT. some 
fifteen or twenty feet, plunging into the river. Campbell, by 
this time, was close in pursuit, and not to be balked, followed 
the bandit into the water. 'I'he fearful leap threw Hopkins 
from his horse : and, before he could reco\'er, Campbell 
was at him. They had along and desperate rencounter in 
river, the bandit losing his dirk. Hopkins was the strongest 
man. and came near drowning Campbell, when F\dlcn and 
some of the others, who h:ul follow ed, came to liis relief; 
and, with dieir assistance, the bandit, wa.-:, after something 
of an enforced duckin;.;'. sulidvied and takcMi to tb.e bank. 

'•'This locality is now on Jninos Ilyar's fnrin. In \\*ash;n^ton Connty. 




IIi)pkiiis" reckless eharacter was well known — a leader 
of ti nioentain elan of desperadoes, who had long infested 
the counlry, eonnnilling robberies on defenceli'ss people 
along the thinly populated frontiers. No time was lost — there 
was no jail in the eoanty that could hold him, and it was 
dangerous to tlie community to sufler such u lawless char- 
acter to roam at large, threatening the lives of such men as 
William Campbell. On taking the culprit to the bank 
of the stream, they searched him, finding his commission, 
with commissions for others, and the letters to the Cherokces, 
which he had not yet delivered. The horse he rode was 
stolen but a few hours before ; and he had a new halter tied 
on behind his saddle, evidenth' intended for ant)ther horse, 
preparatory, perhaps, for a journey, with some acc(Mnplice, 
to the Cherokee country. But the halter, like Ilaman's 
gallows, was put to quite a dillerent use from what was 
designed ; for with it, Hopkins, who was insolent to Camp- 
bell, was speedily hung to the limb of a convenient sycamore 
that leaned over the river. When Colonel Campbell 
rejoined his wife, she eagerly inquired, "What did you do 
with him, iMr. Campbell?" "Oh, we hung him, Betty — 
that's all." The whole country rejoiced at this riddance 
of one of the greatest pests to society. Others of the ban- 
dit party were hunted dow^n, and several of them killed — 
one on Clinch, and another at the lower end of Washing- 
ton County, or on the borders of the neighboring County 
of Sullivan, in now Tennessee. 

At the ensuini^ October session of the Vircfinia Lejjls- 
lature, an act was passed, at the instance of General 
Thomas Nelson, Jr., one of the signers of the Declaration 
of Independence, and afterwards Governor of the State, to 
full}'- meet the case — though it would seem to have hardly 
been necessarv. The act states, that while the measures 
for the suppression of "open insurrection and conspiracy" 
may not have been- "strictly warranted by law, it was 
justifiable from tlie immediate urgency and imminence 

I u 









of tlie danger" — hence "that William Campbell, Walter 
Crockett, and (jtlu-r liege subjects of the Commonwi'alth, 
aided by detachments of the militia and xolunteers horn 
tlie County ol' Washington and other parts ot" the frontiers, 
did by timely anil ellectual e.\ertic<n, suppress and defeat 
such conspiracy," and the}' were declared fully exonerated 
and indemnilied (or the act.* 

In April, 1780, Colonel Campbell was nromoteil to the 
full rank of Colonel, in place of ICvan Slie")y, Sr., whose 
residence, it was now determined, was in North Carolina. 
He served a term in the House of Delegates from earlv in 
May, until the twentieth of June, when he obtained leave of 
absence for the remainder of the session, to engage in an 
expedition against the Chickamauga towns. Governor Jef- 
ferson and his council authorizing him to embodv two hun- 
dred and lifty militia from M^ishington and Monlgoniery 
counties, and unite with a conjunctive Ibrce from the Caro- 

Bnt soon after his return home, he found a dangerons 
enemy in the midst of the white settlements. Two hundred 
Tories of the New river region, within what is now Grayson 
County, Virginia, ami Ashe County, North Carolina, had 
risen in arms, with some British ollicers aiding them, with a 
view of seizing the Lead Mines, near the present Wytheville ; 
when Colonel Campbell, by order of Colonel Preston, took 
the field in Angust at tlie head of one hundred and ibrty or 
lifty men, and scoured that wild, mountainous country; and 
at a place known as the Big Glades, or Round Meadows, 
approaching a large party ot Tories, the latter under cover 
of a thick fog, fled, dispersing in every direction, and hiding 
themselves in the mountains, losinii only one of their num- 

*Statement of Colonel Samuel Newell, neccnihrro. 1S33, in Thr Land We Love, May 
1867; MS. Correspondence of Governor D. Campliell and John li. Dysiirt; convtrsntions 
with Colonel )'atrirk H. Fontaine, a grandson of Patrick Henry, and General Thomas 
Love; Henning's St.ttutes of I'irginin. x. 195. In Atkinson's Casket, for September, 1835, 
is an interesting story founded on the hanging of Hopkins, having, however, but little 
resemblance to the real facts in the case. 

\ Journal 0/ /fouse 0/ Delegates, 1780; Uibbcs' Doc, History, 1776-82, p. 135. 


■: rnif 


' i 

e presentee 

and serving faithfully to tlie end of tlie war, which he de- 
clined, meeting his death heroically. Another part}' of 
Tories was disjtersed above the Shallow Ford of Yadkin.* 
Returning from this expedition, Colonel Campbell led 
four hundred brave riflemen from Washiniiton County 
across the Alleghanies to meet Ferguson's Rangers and the 
united Tories of the Carolinas. Their utter discomfiture 
has been full}- related ; and too much praise cannot well be 
acC(M-ded to "the hero of Kin"-'s Mountain" for his u;al]ant 
bearing during the campaign gcnerallv, and especially for 
his heroic conduct in the batUe. It is a matter of regret, 
that such patriots as Shelby and Sevier shoidd have been 
deceived into the belief that the chi\'alric Campbell shirked 
from the dangers of the conflict, mistaking, as they did, 
the Colonel's servant in the distance for the Colonel him- 

<' Colonel William Camplioll's MSS. ; statement of John Spoils, who was out in this ser- 
vice; MS. Pension statements of Colonel Rohert Love and James Keys, ofCampbell's men; 
Gibbes' JJoc. History, 177O-82, p. 137. 

m' \ 

|i f!'^ 






self; when wrll-iiijrh forty survivors of tlu'batlK', iiKliuling 
sotnc of Camphrirs worlliii'sl oll'iccrs, aiul men of Slirl- 
by's, Scvii-r's, and Clevi'laiurs ri'ifiiUL-nls as well, tcslifyin*^, 
of tliL'ir own kni)\vlc(l<^c, to his prrsonal shari* in liio action, 
and specifying his pr(.\sonce in rwry part of tlie hotl} -con- 
tested engagement, from the beginning to the tinal surren- 
der of the enemy at (Uscretion. It is evident tliat such 
heroes as Siiell)y and vSevier liad ([uite enougii to do within 
tlie range of their own regiments, without being able to 
ol)si'r\e ver\' much what was transj^iring Ix'yond them. 
And wliat .Shelln' lionestly supposed was a \'ague conl'es- 
sion liy Campbell of unaccounlable conduct on his part in 
the latter part of the action, simpl}' referreil to his too pre- 
cipitate order to lire on the unresisting TcM'ies when Col- 
onel Williams had been shot down after the close of the 

contest. IJut in such a victor\-, without 


sllv delractinjf 

from Campbell's great merits and rich deservings, tlu-n; is 
both honor and fame enough for all his worthy compatriots 
also. * It may be jiroper to note, that the sword that Col- 
onel Campbell wielded at King's Mountain, and subse- 
quently at Guilford — his trusty Andrea di Ju-rraru — more 
than a century- old, was used by his Caledonian ancestors 
in the wars of the Pretenders, and is N'et preserved by his 
Preston descendants, f 

Colonel Campbell would have been more or less than 
mortal, had lu' not felt a sense of satisfaction for the high 
praises showered upon 1 ini and his associates lor the 
decisive triumph achieved at King's Mountain — emanating 
from Gates, Washington, the Legislature of Virginia, and 
the Continental Congress. The latti'r august body voted, 
diat it entertained " a high sense of the spirited and mili- 

'■'Hoth Colonel William M.irlin ,in.| F.lijuh Crill.iWMy. wlio were inliinalely acqiiainted 
with fnlnni.-l Cleveland, Mate that he freiiurnlly spnke of Cainphell's K<'"il deportment in 
the battle; Majur Lewis, of Cleveland's regiment, derlared that, had it not hcen for 
Campliell and his Virginians Keranson would have remained master of Kind's Monntain ; 
and (iencral l.ennir, al:xj of Cleveland's men. testified to Camiihell's gallant (.onduct in 
the .iction. 

■^Coloncl Arthur Campbell's Memoir; Campbell's llh/ory of \'irgiHiii, i8(iu, p. 700. 



I ' 5 f. 





tary cnndiict of C'nIoiu>l CainphcH " ami his associates; 
while tlu' Vii'Ljiiiia I louse ol" Delegates voted its "thanks 
to Colonel Campbell," his ollicers and soldiers, for tiieir 
patriotic conduel in repairing to the aid of a distressed sis- 
ter vState, and after " a severe and bloody conlliel," had 
achieved a (U>cisive victory: and that "a good liorst', with 
I'li'gant furniture, and a sword, be purchasi'd at the public 
exjiense, and pri'sented to Colonel W'iliiaui Campbell as a 
furtlu'r testimony of the high sense the General Assem- 
bly entertain of his late important si-rx ici's to his country." 
To these high compliments of the Li-gislature, Colonel 
Cam|ibi'll returned the following modest acknowli'dgment : 

''Gentlemi'ii — I am inlinitely hajipy in receiving this 
public testimony of the approbation u'^ my country for my 
late services in South Carolina. It is a ri'ward far above 
my expectations, and I esteem it llie noblest a soldier can 
receive from a virtuous people. Through you, gimtleinen, 
I wish to communicate the hiifh sense I hav(> of it to the 
House of D«.'legati"s. I owe, under l^rovidence, much to 
the brave ollicers and soldiers who served with me ; and I 
shall take the earliest opportunity of transiTiitling the 
resolve of your House to them, who. I am pei-suaded, will 
experience all the honest heart-felt satisfaction I myself 
feel on this occasion." * 

Now hurr\ing to his frontier home on the Ilolston, he 
fountl that the restless Cherokees had again been at their 
bloody work, and Colonel Arlluu' Campbell had in Decem- 
ber, 1780, aided by Colonel Sevier and Major Martin, led 
forth a strong force for their chastisement. Colonel Will- 
iam Campbi II at once raised additional troops, and marched 
as far as the Long Island of Ilolston, \ to succor his kins- 
man if need be ; but it was not necessary, for the Chero- 

'■' Journals of Congress, 1780. 367; Journal of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1780, 
Kail session, pp. 13, 18. The Viryiiiia I.enisI;Uiirc siibscqiKMitly called a Couiuy afier liiiii, 
to perpetuate liis name and memory. 

•)■ MS correspondence of Colonel Wlllinm Mariin, one of William Campbell's men, and 
of Governor D. Campbell; Haywood's Tennessee, ^^. 






kecs were pursued in dctiiclied partii's by their invaders, 
many of lluir wiuriors wcrt.' kilK d, and tlu-ir settleinuntji 

On the thirtieth of January, 1781, General Greene wrote 
to "the famous Colonrl William Campbilj," rcinindinj.f him 
of iIil: glory he hail already aci[uirj.'d, and urgin,!.f him "to 
bring, wiUiout loss of lime, a thousand good volunteers 
from oNcr llu' mountains." Notwithstanding the Clu-rokees 
were slill troubk'somo, anil llnx-alcning thi> Ironlicrs, the 
noted Logan, \\ilh a northern band, was connniliing depre- 
dations on Clinch, while others were doing mischief in 
Powell's Valley, yet Colonel Campbell raised over a hun- 
dred of his gallant riflemen, and moved forward on Feb- 
rnar}'^ twenty-lifth,* others joining him on the way, until 
he broughl (ieneral Greene, about the second of March, a 
re-inforcement of over lour lumdreil mounlaiui-ers. f Lord 
Cornvvallis had imbibed a personal resentmcTit towards 
Colonel Campbell, as the connnander at King's Mountain, 
threatening Unit should he fall into his hands, he would 
have him inslanth' put to death for his rigor against the 
Tories — evidently designing to hold him personally respon- 
sible tor the execution of the Tory leaders at BickerstatV's. 
This, instead of intimidating, had the contrary eflect ; and 
Campbell, in turn, resolved, if the fortunes of war should 
place Connvallis in his power, he should meet the fate 
of Ferguson. X 

Could anything have served to give additional sjiirit to 
Colonel Canipbi'll, anil nerve him to almost superhuman 
exertions, it was just such a dastardly threat as that uttered 
by Lord Cornwallis. Campbell and his men were soon 
called into action. Taking aihantage of a thick fog. Lord 
Cornwallis sent forward a strong force to beat up the quar- 
ters of Greene's advance jiarties — or, as Greene supposed. 

* Caltndar 0/ I'iixinia State l\i/',-rs, 543, 555. 

\ Calemiar of I'hgiiiia State l'a/>irs, 542; Johnson's Cretne, i, 438. 

t Colonel Arthur tanip'oclls memoir of General Vv'illiam CanipLiell. 

! 1 




either to intercept his stores, or cut off the Light Infantry, 
inchuling the ri^emen, from the main body. Tlicse advance 
cohimns met at Whitzell's Mills, on Rcody creek, some 
seven miles from Greene's camp, \vht;re Colonel Otho IT. 
Williams, Avith Campbell's and Preston's riflemen, and 
Washington's and Lee's corps, fornied on the southern 
bank of the stream, in front of the ford, and some two 
liundred yards below the mill. The main object was to 
protect the mill as long as possible, and enable Greene's 
provision wagons to load with flour and meal, and get off 
with the needed supply, which they barely effected As 
the British, with their short Yager rillomen in front, ap- 
proached, they fired in the distance; and when within 
eighty yards, descending towards the ok, the American 
riflemen opened on them with deadly eflect, one of the 
oflicers of the enemy, when shot, bounding up several feet, 
fell dead ; a second discharge on the advancing fie, when 
only some forty-five }ards ofl', was also ver}' destructive. 
The enemy had opened their field pieces, but, like the fire 
of their small arms, was too high, and only took eflect 
among the limbs of the trees. As the atmosphere was 
heavy, the powder smoke obstructed the enemy's view ; 
w'hile the Americans, below them, had abetter opportunit3^ 
The fighting was ehieOy done b}- the riflemen, and Lee's 
Legion, while covered bv the reinflars ; and ''Colonel 
Campbell," says J(jhn Craig, one of his riflemen, "acted 
with his usual courage." 

Having accomplished the ol-jjcct the}' had in \ lew — the 
security of the flour and meal, — the Americans retired 
over the ford, which was some thrc>e feet deep, with a r:ipid 
current, over a slippery, rocky bottom, with a steep brushy 
bank on the northern shore to ascend. While etfecting this 
passage, the ;.>;allant Majt>r Joseph Cloyd, of Preston's rifle- 
men, observed his old commander on foot, who had been 
unhorsed in the conflict, and dismounting, aided Colonel 
Preston, who was now ad\anced in years and quite fleshy, 
into the saddle, when both escaped.* "The enemy," 

*MS. notes of conversations willi Thomas Hickman, of Oavidson County, Ten- 






said Gemral Greene, ''were handsomely opposed, and suf- 
fered considerably. " 

After no little manoeuvring, the battle of Guilford took 
place on the fifteenth of March. It was brought on b}' a 
.sharp action, in the morning, b}' the advance, consist- 
ing of Lee's Legion, and a ptjrtion of Campbeirs riflemen — 
in which Lee was supposed to have indicted a loss of iifty 
on the part of Tarlet'jn ; while the Light Infantry of the 
Guards were so hard pressed by the riflemen, losing a hun- 
dred of their munber, that a portion of Tarleton's cavalry 
went to their relief. In die main batde that so()n followed, 
Lee's Legion and Campbell's riflemen ibrmed the corps of 
observation on the left flank — the rillemen occupving a 
woodland position. During the obstinate contest, Camp- 
bell's corps fought with the heroic bravery cliaracteristic of 
their noble leader, and of their own unrivalled reputation. 
When the enemy charged the Maryland Line, Campbell 
with his riflemen made a spirited attack on the regiment 
of Bozc, on the British right wing, and dro\e it back ; and 
when the riflemen, in turn, were charged witli tlie bavonet, 
having none to repel them, they were obliged for the 
moment to retire, still loading and liring. however, on 
their pursuers, and thus, whether charging or retiring, 
kept up a destructive fire on these veteran German sub- 
sidiaries. So severely did Campb"irs riflemen handle 
his right wing, tliat Lord Cornwallis was obliged to order 
Tarleton to extricate it, and bring it ofl'. By this time Lee 
had retired with his cavalry, without apprising Campbell of 
his movement ; and die result was, that the riflemen were 
swept from the field.* 

nessee, and IMnjor Iloindon HarnN'ni, of lirownsville, Tennessee, in 1844. and Bcnjatniji 
Starritt, all pariicipants in the action ; Tarleton's Cniii/'uigiis, 135 ; Stedman, ii, 336; Lee s 
Memoirs, revised ed., 265-C7 ; Greene, in LcttoSto Washington, iii, 260; Johnson s Cheinc, 
i, 463-03; Greene's (,treiii>. iii, iS3. 

*MS. Notes of conversa.ions with Benjamin Stririitl, of's I.cyion; Tarlni n's 
CrJ>«/rt/|f«i-, 270-71, J75-76; Piedinan, with MS inar;; notes by Captain J. U. \\ hitfurd, 
ii, 337, 343; Lee's Afi-mairs new od., 276-83; Johnson Crrene, ii, 6; Lossing's /'I'liii /look, 
ii, 402. 403; liancroti, x, 47 ,q ; Dawson's lui/ilt's, ii, 663-07. MS. Letter o*" Hoji. W. C. 
Preston, to the author, July lulh, 1840. 


1 ■ i 



• 1 


' f 

' f 

' \ '' 







i I, 



T^ce commciuUHl CdIoih'I Campbt'll for llie bravery dis- 
phiyod in tlic aciion liy liis battalion ; and Greene assured 
him, that his "faithCul services" claimed his General's 
waniu'st thanks, and liis "entire a|)probation of his con- 
duct" — adding": "Sensible of your merit, 1 feel a pleasure 
in doing" justice to it." Dispk-ased with the treatment shown 
to himself and rillemen — who wi're the first in tlii' engage- 
ment, and tile last in tht' Held — Campbell ri'tired in disgust 
from tlie se-rvice. At his home on the Ilolston, he an- 
nouiu'ed hunsi'lf, on the thirly-lirst of March, as a candi- 
date foi" the House of Delegates, saving : ""^i'lie resignation 
of my military commission, which I could not longer hold 
with honor, afti.-r the treatment I ha\-e received, puts it out 
of my po\M>r to serve my country as an oflicer. "* Camp- 
bell and his men telt deeply aggrieved — feeling that Lee 
had abi'jidoned them without notice, and left them to main- 
tain iht,' uni'(jiial eontt;st unprotected b}' cavalry, when 
Tarleton direcleil his dragoons against them. 

" Vou have no doubt observed," wrote General William 
R. Davie, " that Campbell's regiment of riflemen acted 
with Lee on the left flank of the arm}-. Af'ter the main 
body of tlie army liad been puslied ofl' the Held, these 
troops rcmaiiu'd engaged with the Y igers of the regiment 
of Bo/.e, near the Couit House, some of them c(jvered by 
houses, others by a skirt of thick wood. In this situation, 
they were charged by the British cavaliv, and some of 
them were cut down. Lee's cavalry were drawn up on the 
edge of the open ground, above; the Court House, about 
two hundrid yartls ofl", and, as Colonel Campbell asserted, 
moved as this charge was made on his riflemen. On the 
day after the action, Campbell was extremely indignant at 
this movement, and spoke freely of Lee's conduct. Lee 
was, however, sent ofl' the same day, to watch the enemy's 
movements, and Campbell's regiment were soon dis- 
charged." t 

*MS. Letter of Colonel CamphcU to Colonel iJaniel Smith, on Clinch. 
-{- Jciliiison's Gtrrfte, ii, 16-17, ^o. 



"Tree's abiuulonnn'iit, of CaniplH>irs riflrmiMi," said tlu" 
late William C. Picsloii, >•• at twilight, atul without i;ivin<r 
notice of his withdrawal, was lon^' ix'tfardcd by the survi- 
vors witli the most bitter feeliiiifs, whieh were subsi-(|nentlv 

revived b\' the manner in which lie sun 

k tl 

WW ser\ icrs an* 


sullerin^s in his published account of the l">aldc'." * 

at least, is expressive oi' the sentiments of Campbell and 

ns men 

and, at this late dav, it is dilFicult to (U'termi 



hether Lee was I'xcusabie, or culpable, for tlu> course lie 


pursued. But well-merited compliments and soothi 
words, on the part of (ient'ral (rreiMU', did not clianj^e 
Colonel CampbelTs determination to withdraw from the 
service. He accordinnly left camp on tiie mornini;' of the 
twentieth ; and returning;- home rt'sioiied his commission in 
the militia. 

Colonel Campbell, as tlu' oldest s(M-vinL,f Justice in the 
County Court, became entiUed lo a term of the odice of 
SherifV, but declined tlu' position, lie was chosen lo rep- 
resent Washinj^ton County in the House ol' Delei^ates. 
The General Assembly conveni'd at Richnn)nd early in 
Ma}' of this yi'ar ; but owing to the approach of the enemy, 
they adjourned tc; meet at Charlottesville on the twenty- 
fourth of liuit month ; and, on June the tourth, they were 
compelled hurriedly to adjourn to Staunton to escape cap- 
ture by Tarleton. During the sessioii, disturbed as it was, 
much important jmblic business was transacted. Colonel 
Campbell was placi'il on several of the leading committees, 
associated will) Patrick Ilenr^' and other jirominent 
patiiots — on privileges and elections, the establishment of 
martial law, and amendatory of tin' mililia ail. (Jeneral 
Morga.i was again I'alU'd into ser\ice by tlu- I^i'gislature ; 
and a lew days later, on the fourteeinh of JuiU', tlu' House 
of Delegates chose Colonel Campbell a lirigadier (leiieral 
of the militia, to serve; under Mar([uis l)e La I'ayette, then 
conmianding in V'irginia, which was concurred in b}- the 

* MS. letter to the .iiitlior, July lutli, 1840. 

% \ 

. n 

\ W' 



! A 


Senate the following day. On the sixteenth, General 
Campbell obtained leave of absence for the remainder of 
the session, and at once repaired to La Fayette's camp for 
service. He became a favorite of that gallant nobleman, 
who assigned him to the connnand of a brigade of light 
intantrv and rillemen. '■'' 

While General Campbell was temporarily absent, and 
his corps was encamped at some point in Cumberland 
County, a Parson McCrea, of the old established church, 
who liad drawn his salary in tobacco lor many a ^•ear 
visited the camp, and plied his best arguments to discoura<'-e 
the men, representing that the great strength of Cornwallis' 
army would enable them to slaughter the feeble American 
force like so manv beeves. General Camnbell returning, 
and hearing of this insolent visit, sent a detail of men to 
apprehend the inter-meddling Parson; and se\ere]v repri- 
manded him for his unpatriotic conduct, saN'ing his age 
alone excused him from corporal punishment ; "■ but we 
will show you,"' added the General, "how we intend to 
serve Cornwallis." lie then ordered the Torv clercryman 
to prostrate himself flat on his belly across the road, when 
every soldier stepped over him on their marcli. We are 
afraid the good man left in too dl a humor to properly pray 
for his enemies. 

From tlie pul^lished histories, and the gazettes of that 
day, it would not appear tluit General Campbell had any 
share in the battle of Jamestown Ford, fought on die sixth 
of July, mainly by Wayne's brigade : yet a siu'vivor of 
La Fayette's army stated tliat Campbell particijiated in die 
attack, and fell back fighting as he retired.! Tlis riflemen, 
perhaps, formed the reserve of Wayne's attacking party ; 
for some of his riflemen wcM-e wounded, and Colonel Joiin 
Boyer, of his i-ifle corps, from Rockbridge County, was 

* Journ,t;s of the Virs:i„i,i F.^^h/nlnre. 1781 ; Colonel Arthur Campbell's memoir. 
t MS. notes of ronversi.tions with Reverend James Haynes, near Paris, Tenn., in 1844, 
then eighty-four years of age. 




made a prisoner by the enemy. Thoui^fli Cornwallis 
iifTected tlie most liuuglity contempt for '■•the boy" La- 
Fayette, he must have had some respect for Wayne, the 
hero of Stony l\)int, for Campbell, who liad taken a little 
detached ami}- from liim at King's Mountain, and for 
Morgan, who had handled his detachment under Tarleton 
so roughly at the Cowpens. 

While Cornwallis was encamped at Williamsburg, and 
La Fayette six miles distant on the road leadiu'^ to Rich- 
mond, General Campbell, in command of the light troops, 
usually kept a picket guard of a d(»zon or tifleen of his 
mounted men at the Three Burnt Chimne3-s, about niidwa}' 
between the hostile camps. For several successive morn- 
ings the enemy would send out a superior body of horsemen, 
and drive in the American picket. Campbell determined to 
profit by this experience. A short distance in the rear 
of the Burnt Chimneys was a fine grove by the road-side, 
surromuling a church. In this grove Campbell posted a 
large detachment of mounted rillemcn, himself at their 
head ; and placed the customary picket at the Burnt Chim- 
neys, with directions to retire on the a]")proach of the 
expected British cavalry earh' in the morning. The 
enemy, as usual, hotly pursued the fleeing Americans 
under whip and spur, imtil they reached the grove, when an 
unexpected volley of rifle balls unhorsed a goodh' number 
of the astonished Britons — killing some twenty or more of 
their cavalry men, and thirty or forty of their horses. The 
survivors fled back in dismay, and the picket at the Burnt 
Chimneys was no more anno^'ed. * 

But General Campbt^lTs services were destined to a 
sudden termination. Taken \\ith a complaint in his breast, 
lie was conveyed to the residence of Colonel John Syme. his 
wife's half brother, at Rocky Mills, in Hanover County, 
where, after a few days' illness, he expired, August the 


* MS. notes of convrrs:itions. In January, 1844, with James Givens, one of Camplicll's 
men, then in his eightieth year. 



%■ u.. 



twentv-sc'cond, 1781, in liis tliirh'-sixth j^ear. When 
La Favette received intelligence of the death of his friend, 
he issued a General Order announcing the sad event, char- 
acterizing General Campbell as " an ofllcer whose services 
must have endeared him to every cidzen, and in particular 
to every American soldier. The glory which General 
Campliell has acquired in the aflairs of King's Mountain 
and Ciuilford Court House, will do his memor}' everlasting 
honor, and insure him a high rank among the defenders 
of liberty in the American cause;'" General La Fayette 
reirretdni; diat tlie funeral was so ^rcat a distance from the 
army, as to deprive him and his oflicers the privilege of 
paying to General Campbell the honors due to his rank, 
and "particularly to his merit," and deputing four field 
oflicers to repair to Rocky Mills and, in behalf of the army, 
pay him their last tribute of respect. 

Here his remains reposed until 1823, when his relatives 
had them removed to his old Aspcnvale homestead on the 
Ilolston, in now Sm3-th County, beside his mother, little son, 
and other relatives, and where a neat monument was erect- 
ed to his memorv. His widow, a son, and a daughter 
survived him — the widow subsequenth' uniting in marriage 
with General William Russell ; the son died young ; the 
daughter, Sarah, became the wife of General Francis Pres- 
ton, and mother of Hon. William C. Preston, General 
John S. Preston, and Colonel Thomas L. Preston. Gen- 
eral Campbell's widow died in November, 1825, aged about 
eighty ; and his daughter, Mrs. Preston, died at Abingdon, 
Virginia, July twenty-third, 1846, at the age of nearly 
seventy years. 

There was something akin to rivalry between Colonel 
Arthur Campbell and his brother-in-law, William Camp- 
bell, whose sister Margaret he had married. She was a 
woman of excellent mind, and of uncommon beautv and 
sprightliness ; and withal she possessed no little ambition, 
which she endeavored to turn to good account in her 



m . 

■'^^ i U -Ji 

-'^-'-r---^ ■■ ^' •- -^ 

lis a 





husband's behalf. This youncf wife encouraged liim in all 
his plans b}' wliich he ini<^ht acquire distinction as a public 
man. ITer whole mind seemed completely absorbed in 
this one great object of her life, to which every other must 
bend; no privation, liowever great, annoyed her in the 
smallest degree, if she believed it would contribute; to the ac- 
quirement of either militarv or ci\il reputation for her hus- 
band. Iler extreme solicitude and promptings to push him 
lip the ladder of fame, caused him sometimes to make false 
steps, and involved him in unnecessary altercations with 
his brother-in-law and others. Except these ambitious ef- 
forts, and tluy were alwavs promoted in a manner to grat- 
ify her husband, she was among the most exenqilarv of 
women, never having a thought in opposition to his upon 
an}' subject, and believing him to be the greatest man in 
the country-, not excepting her brother, of whose abilities 
she entertaint'd a very exalted opinion.* 

Colonel Arthur Campbi-ll was some three 3'ears the 
senior of William Campbell ; this fact, and his having been 
in }-outh a prisoner with the Indians, had given him the 
precedence in martial alTairs. His military talents, how- 
ever, were not of tlie hrst order, while William Campbell 
thought that the experience he liad gained on the Point 
Pleasant campaign, and during his 3-ear\s service in the 
Williamsburg region, in 1775-76, fairl}- entitled him to lead 
his brother-in-law, who woidd not acquiesce in this view, 
and jealousies were the consequence, and sometimes open 
ruptures. There appears to have been a sort of quasi un- 
derstanding between them, that they should take turns in 
commanding the Washington force on military expeditions 
against the enemy. While Colonel William Campbell led 
the troops against the Tories up New river, the men com- 
posing the c.(mimand were only in part from W;ishington 
Countv ; and, hence he was permitted to go on tiie King's 
Mountain campaign, heartily seconded in his efforts by 

♦MS. letter of Gov. navid Campbell to the author, IJcc. t2, 1840. 


( , 





r':: \ 


y ) 


Colonel Arthur Campbell. The hitler led the expedition 
in Deceiiil-)er followin;^ against the Cherokees ; and when, 
shortly at'ter, \Villiam Caniplxdl received the urgent in- 
vitation from General Greeni," to join him with a band of 
riflemen, Colonel Arthur Campbell interposed objections, 
nominally on the ground of dan^rer from the Indians, but 
probably prompted in fact somewhat by his jealous}- of his 
brother-in-law's growing lame as a leader in expeditions 
against the enemy. 

General Campbell had a \er3' imposing personal ap- 
pearance — the />('(r/r ideal of a military chieftain with those 
who ser\-ed uiuler him. He was about six feet, two inches 
high, possessing a large, muscular, well-proporliMiied frame 
— rather raw-boned ; with an iron constitution, capable of al- 
most incredible endurance — and he was asstraiurht as an In- 
dian. I lis complexion was ruddy, with light colored or red- 
dish hair, and bright blue e}es. His countenance presented 
a serious — nay, stern appearance ; and wlien not excited ex- 
pressive of great benevolence ; but when his ire was stirred, 
he exhibited the fury of an Achilles. On such occasions he 
would commit violent and indiscreet acts ; he was, however, 
easily calmed, particularly when approached by tliosc in 
whom he reposed confidence — to such he would yield his 
opinions widiout the slightest opposition. In conversation 
he was reserved and thoughtful ; in his written communica- 
tions, expressive and elegant. He was bland in his man- 
ners, and courteous to all with whom he had interccjurse, 
whether high or low, rich or poor. At preaching in the 
country, it was his constant custom to look around after ser- 
mon was ended, and assist all the women of the neighbor- 
hood, especially the more aged, who were not attended, 
on their liorses. 

Of Scottish descent, he inherited the j^rinciples and 
predilccdons of his persecuted Presbv'terian ancestors 
of that northern land. His religious zeal — certainly in 
theor}' — and his devotion to liberty, were alike deep, fer- 









vent, and exclusive. In his domestic and social relations, 
he was the most amiabh^ of men. He wor.ld send his ser- 
\'ants to aid a poor neighbor, while he would iiimself plow 
through the heat of the day in his fields, gi\ing his spare 
moments to his Bible and his God, endeavoring scrupu- 
lously to live up to the golden rule in all his dealings with 
his fellow men. But he set his face like a flint against the 
enemies of his country and of freedom, proving himself 
almost as inflexible as a Claverhouse or a Cumberland 
toward those who betrayed or deserted the holy cause for 
which he contended, and for which he died. 

But it was as a military genius that he shone preeminent. 
lie had the ability to form able plans — confidence in him- 
self, and indefatigable perseverance to execute them ; and 
the rare capacity to inspire all under his command with his 
own conlidence and indomitable courage. Had he acted 
on as conspicuous a stage as Warren or Montgomery, his 
name and fame would have been as illustrious as theirs. 
With inferior numbers of undisciplined volunteers, em- 
bodied with great celerity, led forth, with scanty supplies, 
nearly two hundred miles over rugged mountains, he 
totally defeated Ferguson, one of the most experienced and 
enterprising of the British partisan leaders — gaining, as he 
expressed it, " victory to a wish." At Guilford he fully 
sustained his high reputation, and had the North Carolina 
militia behaved with the firmness and courage equal to his 
riflemen, the army of Cornwallis would not have been 
crippled only, but would, in all probability, have met with 
irretrievable disaster. 

General Campbell never balanced between military duty 
and prudential maxims. Himself a hater of vice and 
treason in every form, he was by some deemed too severe 
in punishing the deviations of others — yet his acts, in his 
own estimation, were the result of the purest patriotic 
impulses. Wherever the story of King's Mountain and 
Guilford is read, and the services of their heroes full}' 


1 i|l!|| 


' . ' ' 




1 i. 





appreciated, it will bo foiincl that William Campbell has 
"purpled o'er his name with deathless glory." 

Of such of General Campbell's officers as served with 
him at King's Mountain, and concerning whom facts have 
been obtained, brief notices will be made. Maj'M- William 
Edmondson — or Edmiston, as frequently written in early 
clays — the second in command of the Virginia regiment in 
the battle, was descended from Irish ancestry, and born in 
Cecil County, Maryland, in 1734. While he was yet 
young, his fatlier removed to what is now Rockbridge 
County, Virginia, where he grew to years of manhood, 
receiving a limited education. He early engaged in the 
old French and Indian war. 

Learning of Colonel Byrd's expedition down the IIol- 
ston, destined against the Cherokees, in 1760, William 
Edmondson, and his brother Samuel, concluded to enlist, 
so as to give them an opportunity to examine the lands 
of the Ilolston country with a view to future settlement. 
While on this service, William Edmondson was guilty 
of the high crime of addressing an olTiccr without taking 
off his hat, as was required of all soldiers, for which he 
was severel}'' rebuked, and threatened with punishment. 
Reaching his comrades in great wrath, Edmondson loaded 
his rifle, and swore he would shoot the officer \N'ho had so 
grossly insulted him ; and it was with great diffitult3% that 
his brother dissuaded him from it. One of the Virginia 
officers, who knew Edmondson, wrote to Governor Fau- 
quier, that there was a high spirited soldier in his corps, 
who, unless commissioned, was likely to get into trouble, f 
On the first of August, in that year, the Governor sent 

'■'These salient points in the character of General Campliell are drawn from Colonel 
Arthur Campbell's memoir; Governor D. Campbell's MS. correspondence; and the recol- 
lections of Colonel Walter Lewis, who had served under him, in Atkinson's Casket, Sep- 
tember, 1833, 387. 

■J- MS. letter of Hon. Benjamin Estill, August siitt, 1S45. , 





him an Ensi;^n'.s commission to serve on tluit expedition. 
Hut when Byrd got pretty well down the Valley, he took to 
camp, but made no further progress during that nor tl.e 
following year. In 176.^, Governor Fauquier sent Edniond- 
son a commission of Lieutenant in the militia. 

Having married a Miss Montgomer}', he removed, after 
the war, t(j the New river frontiers, in now Gra}son Count}' ; 
and subsequently to what now constitutes Washington Comi- 
ty, settling on a tract of land received for his military ser- 
vices. In 1774 he was commissioned a Lieutenant in the 
militia of Fincastle County, served on the frontiers of 
Clinch and Sandy, and probably in Christian's regiment on 
the expedition to Point Pleasant and the Scioto: and, in 
1776, he was made a Captain, and served on the campaign 
against the Cherokces in the fall of that year. In 1777, he 
was appointed a Justice, and failed only a few votes of an 
election to the Ilotise of Delegates. He was, this year, 
selected b}' the Legislature one of the commissioners tor 
taking depositions against the claim of Henderson and 
Company to die Kentuck}- country. During 1777, he was 
in service when the treaty was held at Long Island of Hol- 
ston, and was much engaged, in 1778, in giuuding the 
fronders. Early in 1779, he commanded a conipau}- on 
Colonel Evan Shelb3''s Chickamauga expedition ; and early 
in 1 780, he was promoted to Major of the Washington regi- 
ment, serving on the expedition against the Tories on New 
river, and then on the King's Mountain campaign. At the 
close of the year he joined Colonel W^illiam Campbell's 
force, marching to the Long Island of Holston. He was 
advanced to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1781, and in 1783 to a 
full Colonel. During 1781 and 1782, he was much in ser- 
vice in protecting the frontiers. 

By two marriages — the second to a Miss Kennedy — he 
had fifteen children, one son, born soon after the death of 
his revered commander, he named General William Caiiip- 
hcll Edmondson. He lived to a good old age, dying July 

. I. 





thirtiotli, 1822, in liis cio-hty-ninth year. He was six feet, 
two inclu's hi<j;li, possi ;i vi<f()r()us mind ; he was bold, 

manly, opcn-hcarliul, lul j^a-norous. I lis attai'hmcnts 
won* stronjr, and his hatreds bitter. lie served at one time 
as Sherirt* of the County, and for many years presided, 
with great di<rnit\-, over the County Court. Judge Estill, 
who knew him well, declared, that "few more gallant, 
useful, and iionorable men than Colonel Edmondson ever 
lived in any counlr\'." 

James Dysart was born in Donegal Count}', Ireland; 
his parents d3ing in his infancy, he was raised by his grand- 
father, who gave him a plain education. At the rtge of 
seventeen he sailed for the New World to seek his fortune, 
landing, m 1761, at Ph'hulelphia, from which he gradually 
worked his way to th< th-west, until he reached the IIol- 
ston Valley. In 177 joined James Knox and others, 

in exploring Tennessee and Kentucky, who are known in 
history as the Long Hunters. In 1775, he married Nancy 
Beattie. sister of Captain David Beattie, and settled on the 
Little Molston. During the whole Revolutionary war he 
was active in frontier service, heading his company ; and 
at King's Mountain he was badly wounded in the left hand, 
which crippled him for life. In 1781 he was made a Major, 
and subsequently a Colonel ; and once represented Wash- 
ington County in the Virginia Legislature. In liis old age, 
broken up b}' surety debts, he removed to Rockcastle 
Count}-, Kentucky, with his wife, three sons, and three 
daughters; where he died, May twentN'-sixth, 1818, at the 
age of seventy-four years. He w^as fond of reading, and 
had quite a library of books. When it was once suggested 
to him that he must be lonesome at his frontier home — "I 
am never lonesome," he replied, " when I have a good 
book in mv hand." He always spoke highly of Colonel 
William Campbell as a brave man and able commander. 
In 1806, he was placed on the invalid pension list, drawing 
a hundred and twent}' dollars a year. 

M \ 



Another of CanipbcH's (jllifiTs was Captain David IJoat- 
tie, son of J(jhn Ikniltie, born on Carr's rrei-k, in now 
Rockbridge County, Virginia, about 1752; and removed 
with liis parents to what is now Washington Countv, in 
1772, setthng at the present locahty of the Glade Spring 
Depot. lie married Miss Mary Heattie, and raised four 
sons and a daughter. Tiie Beattie connection Ibrteil 
against tlie Indians where the GUule Spring church is now 
situated. Captain Heattie was nnich engaged in frontier 
service, and led his company at King's Mountain — his 
brothers John and William were also along. John IJeattie, 
an Ensign, was killed in the battle, leaving no family. 
Captain Beattie died in the spring of 1814. He was a man 
of much energy of character. 1 1 is brother, William Beat- 
tie, survived till April fourth, i860, at the veneralile age 
of one hundred years — the hist of Campbell's King's 
Mountain men. 

Captain Andrew Colvill, an earl}- settler in the Ilolston 
Valley, took an active part in the defence of the country. 
He was, as early as 1776, commanding at Fort Black, and 
the two following years he was ranging the frontiers, or 
stationed at Moore's and Cowan's Forts, and distinguished 
himself at King's Mountain. lie died in the autumn 
of 1797. 

Few of the Ilolston pioneers were more serviceable 
than Robert Craig. He commanded a company on Chris- 
tian's Cherokee campaign in the fall of 1776; was mrch 
engaged in the defence of the frontiers, and at King's 
Mountain, where he fought bravely, losing his Lieutenant, 
William Blackburn, and his Ensign, Nathaniel Dryden. 
He survived the war. 

Of Captain William Edmondson's career, who distin- 
guished himself and lost his life at King's Mountain, we 
have no further particulars ; nor of Captain William Neal, 
who commanded the footmen in the rear, save that he rose 
from the rank of ensign in 1777, and survived the war. 




i \ 





■' '1 

l« ■!■ 

Recce Bovven was born in Maryland about 1742. He 
first emigrated to what is now Rockbridge County, Vir- 
ginia, and, in 1769, to the waters of CHnch, in what is now 
Tazewell County. He shared in the battle of Point Pleas- 
ant ; went to the relief c" the Kentucky stations in 1778; 
and on the King's Mountain campaign, he was Lieu- 
tenant of his brother, William Bowen's company. His 
brt>ther being ill of fever, Reece Bowen succeeded to the 
command of the company. His heroic death has been 
already related ; he is said to have been shot by a Tory 
boy, beliind a baggage wagon, near the close of the 
engagement, when Campbell's men were driving the 
e.^emy toward the north-eastern end of the mountain. 
He was remarkable for his herculean strength and great 
activit}-. He left a famil}- — his son, Colonel Henry Bowen, 
lived in Tazewell County to a good old age. 

Thomas ]McColloch had long been prominent among 
the border men of Holston. Though only a Lieutenant, 
he commanded a compan}^ at King's INIountain, and 
was mortally wounded in the battle. He died while the 
army was at Walker's, on their return march, the twelfth 
of October, and was buried in Little Britain grave-yard. 
On the rude stone at his grave is this inscription : " Here 
lies the bodv of Lieutenant Thomas McColloch, bclonmncf 
to Colonel Campbell's Virginia regiment, who lost his life 
in, and for the honorable, just, and righteous cause of 
liberty, in defeating Colonel Ferguson's infamous company 
of banditti, at King's Mountain, October seventh, 17S0." 

William Russell, Jr., who, though only a Lieutenant, 
conunanded Captain Neal's company at King's Mountain, 
was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, in 1758. He was 
chiefly raised on the south-western frontier of that State ; 
and, in 1774, he served on an expedition, in Powell's Val- 
kw, under Daniel Boone, and was repeatedly in service 
thereafter ; acting as Adjutant to Colonel Campbell at 
King's Mountain, Whitzell's ^lill, and Guilford. He 




afterwards removed to Kentucky, serving from 1791 to 
1794, under Scott, Wilkinson, and Wayne, on their several 
expeditions against the Indians ; and again, in north-west- 
ern campaigns during the war of 181 2-15, having been 
appointed to the command of a regiment in the regular 
army in 1808. He rendered much service in civil life, 
representing Fayette County, in the Virginia Legislature in 
1789, and ni the Kentucky Legislature thirteen sessions. 
He was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor in 1824 ; 
and died July third, 1825, about sixty -seven years of age. 

The two Robert Edmondsons — of whom the elder was 
killed, and the younger wounded, at King's Mountain — 
were of Irish descent, and near kinsmen. Both were in 
the batde of the Long Island Flats of Holston, July twen- 
tieth, 1776, when some of the men retreated — ^young Robert 
among them. The elder Robert Edmondson interposed, and 
brought some of them into line, his young kinsman of the 
number. The elder Edmondson chidcd the younger for 
having used profane language during the engagement, for 
which he was bound to report him to his father. The 
young nan retorted — "You, too, did the very same thing 
when the men were on the flight." This accusadon 
shocked the good man, who was a strong Presbyterian, and 
said this charge would be an additional matter to report to 
the young man's father ; whereupon a by-stander mildly 
said, " It's too true — I heard you." The old soldier, who 
had unconsciously used rough language under high excite- 
ment, now held his peace. He was a good soldier, and 
killed two or three Indians at the Island Flat battle ; he 
served on Christian's Cherokee expedition in the fall of 
1776; was engaged in frontier defense as a Lieutenant in 
1777-8, and on Evan Shelby's Chickamauga expedition 
in 1779. 

At King's IMountain, the younger Edmondson was 
Lieutenant of Beattic's company. He subsequently set- 
tled at the Irish station, near Ilaysboro, seven or eight 

; ' '■•• 1 

1 \ 

' >. 

V' \ 




miles above Nashville, on the Cumberland. In the fall of 
1787, in a scrape \vith the Indians, at Neely's Bend, he 
was badly wountled in the arm ; and it was eight years 
after, when an ounce ball was extracted from the arm, 
before he recovered, lie died in 1816, at the age of sixty- 
three. Captain Andrew J. Edmondson, who served under 
General Jackson in the Creek war, and at New Orleans, 
was his son. 

Sanniel Newell was born in Frederick Count}-, Vir- 
ginia, November fourth, 1754, and his parents early settled 
on the Ilolston. lie engaged in the service against Tories 
in April, 1776, and in the summer following shared in the 
battle of Long Island Flats of Ilolston ; and the same j-ear 
was appointed a Sergeant in Captain Colvill's company, and 
a Lieutenant in 1777 — serving several years on the fron- 
tiers. In 17S0, he took part in the expedition against the 
Tories on New ri\'er, and then at King's jNIountain, in Col- 
vill's company, where he was badly wounded, from which 
he never fully recovered. In December of the same year, 
he went on Colonel Arthur Campbell's Cherokee expedi- 
tion ; and in 1781, was appointed a Captain. lie was 
much engaged in the protection of the KenLuck}^ road and 
Powell's \' alle}^, and had several skirmishes with the In- 
dians — twice, in 1782, overtaking war parties, in one of 
wliich he and his men surrounded an Indian camp, and 
his gun alone went ofl", the others failed, from becoming wet ; 
but his single lire killed one Indian and mortally wounded 
another. lie early removed to French Broad river, in 
Tennessee, where he figured among the promoters of the 
Franklin Government, was a representative, in i7>''^5, of 
Sevier Count}- in the Legislature, and also a member of 
the Convention that formed the Franklin Constitution at 
the close of that year ; was subsequently a Justice and a 
Colonel of militia. In 1797, he removed to wl at is now 
Pulaski County, Kentucky, where he was long presiding 
Justice of the County Court ; and about 1838 he removed to 







Montgomery County, Indiana, where he died September 
twenty-first, 1841, at the age of nearly eighty-seven years. 
He was six feet, one inch in h.eight, of fnie presence, and 
superior abihties. lie left numerous descendants. In 1812 
he was placed on the invalid pension list, drawing, at first, 
ninety-six, and subsequently increased to one hundred and 
eight dollars a jear, and still later to two hundred and 
thirty-one dollars and ninety-three cents. 

Andrew Kincannon, a native of the Valley of V^irginia, 
was born October twenty-seventh, 1744. ^^^ early settled 
in the Ilolston country. He was a blacksmith and gunsmith 
by trade, and claimed to have made the first horse-shoe in 
Kentuck}', probably in 1775. In Februarj-, 1777, he was 
acting as armorer to the troops stationed at Long Island of 
Ilolston; and that year he was appointed an Ensign, and 
then a Lieutenant in Washington County, and stationed 
at the Stone Mill on Deer Creek. At King's Moun- 
tain, he succeeded to the command of his company, 
when Captain D}sart was wounded, and was cliosen 
Captain in 1782. A few years after the war, he setded on 
Tom's Creek, in Surry County, North Carolina, where he 
had a fine farm and iron works. He married Catherine 
McDonald ; they raised nine children, and left many de- 
scendants. He was tall and muscular, of great integrity, 
and high character. He died in November, 1829, at the 
age of eighty-five years. 

Robert Campbell, a younger brother of Colonel Arthur 
Campbell, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, May 25, 
1755, and emigrated to the Ilolston in 1771 ; serving in 
Christian's regiment on the Shawanoe Campaign in 1774; 
and was in the battle of Long Island Flats of Ilolston, in 
Jid}^ 1776, where in advance of his fellows, he was mistaken 
for an Indian, and came near losing his life, and when 
within twenty paces of a warrior, who had discharged his 
gun ineffectually at Campbell, the latter aimed at him in 
turn, when the savage hero folded his arms, and met his 








' r 

I f j 



fate with a dignity and firmness worthy of the bnghtest 
days of chivahy. Seeing the Indians extending their hnes 
to surround the whites, Campbell gave the alarm in season 
to counteract it. On Christian's Cherokee campaign, in 
the fall of 1776, he was a volunteer; and on the march 
to Ilighwassee, the troops forded French Broad river to their 
waists and armpits, then bivouacked on the southern bank 
during the greater part of a very cold night, without hre, 
apprehending an attack from the Indians, and renewing 
their march at the dawn of day, with shivering limbs, liter- 
ally encased in ice. At King's Mountain, though only an 
Ensign, he served conspicuously. In December following 
he was Adjutant to his brother. Colonel Arthur Campbell, 
on his Cherokee expedition, and at his own request, headed 
a party of sixty men to destroy Chilhowee. Having accom- 
plished this service, while returning, they had to pass a nar- 
row dciile, three hundred yards in extent, lined by two or 
three hundred warriors ; and, witliout pausing, he directed 
his men to follow him in sintjle file, and char^jed through at 
their best speed, without losing a man, though a heavv 
volley was fired at them. He served a long period as a 
Colonel of a regiment, and as a maixistrate nearlv fortv 
years, in Washington County ; then removed, in 1825, to 
Knox County, Tennessee, where he died December twenty- 
seventh, 1831, in the seventy-seventh year of his age.* 

♦Some writers have confomulcd Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Campbell with General 
William Campbell. In a sketch of the latter, in the first edition uf Appleton's Cyclo/'tdia. 
it is stated that he was mortally wounded at tlie battle of F.utaw Springs, September 
eighth, 1781 ; and when told of the success of the American arms, died uttering the same 
words as Wolfe had done before him. " I die contended " This was true of Richard 
Campbell, also a native of the Virginia Valley, who was commissioned a Captain in 
February, 1776, and subsequently a M.ijor. serving in Colonel John Gibson's regiment at 
Pittsburg. He served on Mcintosh's expedition against the Ohio Indians in 1778; and 
leading a relief party to Fort I, aureus, in June, 1779, he commanded that frontier garrison 
till its evacuation shortly after. Joining General Greene with a regiment of Virgijiia 
regulars, he served with distinction at Guilford, Hobkirk's Hill and Ninety Six, sealing 
with his life's blood his devotion to his country at Eutaw. 








[n ill 

|nt at 






Cols. Shelby and Sevier, and their Officers. 

Notice of Evan Shelby. — Isaac SJiclhys Life and Services. — Officers 
ztnder him at King's Mountain — Evan Shelby, Jr. — Gilbert Chris- 
tian — A/oses Shelby — fames Elliott — fohn Sawyers — George Max- 
well, and George Rittledge. — fohn Sevier's Life and Services. — 
//is King's Mountain Oj^cers — fonathan Tipton — Valentine and 
Robert .Sevier — Christopher Taylor — Jacob Broiun — Samuel Weir. 

Evan Slielbv, who was born in Wales in 1720, emi- 
grated, with his lather's family, to Maryland, about 1735, 
settling near North Mountain, in now Washington County, 
where he became a noted woodsman, hunter, and Indian 
trader. He llgured prominently on the Mar}'land and 
Pennsylvania frontiers in the old French and Indian war — 
first as a Lieutenant, and then as a Captain. On Forbes' 
campaign, he gave chase to an Indian spy, in view of many 
of the troops, overtaking and tomahawking him. lie sub- 
sequently distinguished himself at Point Pleasant, on Chris- 
tian's campaign, and on the expedition he led against the 
Chickamaugas. Rising to the rank of Colonel, and then 
General, he died December fourth, 1794, at the age of 
seventy-four years. 

His son, Isaac Shelb}', was born near the North Moun- 
tain, Maryland, on the eleventh of December, 1750, where 
amid the excitements of the Indian wars, he obtained only 
the elements of a plain English education. In 1771, he was 
for some time engaged in feeding and herding cattle in the 
extensive natural ranges west of the Alleghanies \ and in 
the same year, the Shelby connection removed to the Hols- 
ton country. In 1774, when the Indians became trouble- 
some, Isaac Shelby received the commission of a Lieuten- 

I , ■ i ! 









rt ''(■ 

|! .5- 

ant in the militia at tlie hands of Colonel William Preston, 
the County Lieutenant of Fincastle, and took his seat ; 
when his father, who was present, thinking his son had not 
shown proper respect in the matter, said to him : " Get up, 
you dog you, and make jour obeisance to the Colonel " — 
whereupon the youthful olhcer arose, somewhat iibashed, and 
made the amende Jioiiorahlc. lie served with distinction, as 
second in command of his father's company-, in the memor- 
able battle of Point Pleasant, October tenth, 1774, where the 
frontier riflemen fought the Shawanoes and allied tribes from 
sunrise till sundown, gaining a decisive victory. Point Pleas- 
ant was then made a garrison, where he remained in service 
till July, 1775, when Governor Dunmore ordered the dis- 
bandment of those troops, lest they might sympathize with, 
and become obedient to the Whig authorities. 

He was now, for nearly twelve months, engaged in ex- 
ploring the wilds of Kentuck}', and in sun'cyiug lands for 
Henderson and Company, who had made a large purchase 
from the Cherokees. During his absence in 1776, he was 
commissicmed a Captain ; and, in 1777, Governor Henry ap- 
pointed him a Commissary of supplies for the several frontier 
garrisons, and for the ensuing treat}- with the Cherokees at 
the Long Island of IIolst(m in that year. It was only by his 
most indefatigable exertions that the large amount of pro- 
visions required, could be obtained. The following year he 
continued his Commissary services, providing for the Con- 
tinental arm}', and for General Mcintosh's expedition against 
the Ohio Indians. In the spring of 1779, he pledged his 
individual credit for supplies for his father's troops on the 
Chickamauga expedition. He was, this spring, elected a 
member of the Virginia Legislature from Washington 
County ; and, in the fall, he was commissioned a Major by 
Governor Jefferson for the escort of guards to the Commis- 
sioners for extendint; the boundary line between Vir<rinia 
and North Carolina. His residence was now found to be 
within the limits of the latter State, and he was, in Xoveni- 

% "I 



ber of this year, nppointed by Governor Caswell a Coloni'l 
and magistrate of the new County of Siillivan, entering 
upon their duties at the organization of the County in 
Februar}- following. 

In the the summer of 17S0, Colonel Shelby was in Ken- 
tucky, perfecting his claims to lands he had five years before 
selected and marked out for himself, \vhen the intelligence 
of tlie surrender of Charleston reached that countr}'. lie 
returned home in July, determined to enter the service, 
and remain in it imtil independence should be secured, 
lie found a message from Colonel Charles McDowell, of 
Ilurke County, begging him to furnish all the aid he could to- 
wards checking the enemv, who were over-runninir the 
three SouUiern States, and had reached the western borders 
of North Carolina. In a few days, he crossed the Allegha- 
nies witli two hundred mounted rillemen. Their valor and 
patriotism were shown conspicuously at Thicketty Fort, 
Cedar Springs and Musgrove's Mill ; re-assuring the strug- 
gling patriots that the British leaders could not ride, rough- 
shod, over the American people. Shelby's noble efforts 
in prosecuting the King's Mountain expedition, his magna- 
nimity in securing the appointment of Colonel Campbell to 
the chief command, and his heroic conduct in the battle, all 
combine to render his services, at that critical period, of 
the greatest importance to his country. 

The Legislature of North Carolina passed a vote of thanks 
l') Colonels Shelby and Sevier for their good services, direct- 
ing that an elegant sword should be presented to each of 
them. General Greene wrote xu-gently requesting Col. 
Shelbv to join him with a body of mountaineers, which 
letter miscarried ; but a second message was more fortunate, 
and Shelby and Sevier led live; hundred mounted riflemen 
over the mountains joining General Greene, about the first 
of November. Shelby was detached with Colonel Maham 
in an attempt on the British post of Fairlawn, at Colleton's 
plantation, a few miles from Monk's Corner. When a flag 



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was sent in, demanding its surrender, the British oflieer in 
command returned for answer, that lie woukl defend it 
to the last extremity. Shelby then went himself, assuring 
the commandant that should he be so Ibol-hardy as to suffer 
a storm, every soul would be put to death, as he had under 
his command several hundred mountaineers who would 
rush in, tomahawk in hand, upon the garrison. The otlicer 
tlien inquired if he had any cannon. "Yes, indeed," said 
Shelby, '' guns that will blow you to atoms in a moment." 
"Then," replied the officer, " I suppose I must surrender," 
which he did — one hundred and five prisoners, with three 
hundred stand of arms. Shelby shordy after obtained leave 
of absence, to attend the North Carolina Legislature, of 
which he was a member. Soon after the mountaineers 
returned home — not deserters as Judge Johnson describes 
them, for the call upon them was for a special service — to 
aid in intercepting Cornwallis ; who, having been effectually 
intercepted at Vorktown, they felt that they had fullilled all 
that could reasonably be required of them, and retired 
to their homes, in a deep snow, early in January ensuing.* 
The Legislature of North Carolina soon adjourned, and 
Colonel Shelby returning to the Holston, was engaged dur- 
ing spring in preparing for an expedition against the Chick- 
amauga band of Cherokees, and the hostile Creeks at the 
sources of the jNIobile, in which enterprise he was to have 
been joined by two hundred men from Washington County, 
Virginia ; but on account of the poverty of that State, the 
authorides discouraged the scheme, and reaching Big Creek, 
thirty miles below Long Island of Holston, the expedition 
w^as relinquished. He was, in 1782, again chosen a member 
of the North Carolina Assembly, and was appointed one of 
the Commissioners to adjust preemption claims on Cumber- 
land river, and lay off the lands allotted to the officers and 

* Haywood's History of Tennessee, 102-106; Todd's Life of Sfielby ; MS. statement of 
Gov. Shelby, apparently addressed to Judge Johnson, roiitroverting his st.itenicnts ahont 
the pretended desertion of the mountaineers; MS. notes of conversations with James 
Sevier, who was in the service, and with Col. George Wilson. 





lit of 

soldiers of the North Carolina line, which serviee he per- 
formed in the winter of 1782-83. In April following, he 
was married at lk)onesborough, Kentucky, to Susanna, 
daughter of Captain Nathaniel Hart, one of the pioneers of 
the countr\-, and now settled on his preemption near Stan- 
ford, where he continued to reside for forty-three years. 

In Januar}'. 1783, Colonel Shelby having been appointed 
by Governor Harrison and the Council of Virginia, one 
of the Commissioners to hold treaties with the Western 
Indians, a conference was held at Long Island of IIol- 
ston with the Cherokees in July, but nothing of mo- 
ment was accomplished. The proposed treaty with the 
Shawnees miscarried ; and only CoUniels Donelson and 
Martin met tlie Chickasaws at French Lick, on Cumber- 
land, in November, and interchanged friendly talks with 
them. For several years Indian disturbances continued, 
the Cherokees waylaying the Kentucky road, and inflict- 
ing much injuiy on the travelers to that country. The 
Kentucky people ' resolved to march in strong force 
against Cliickamauga, and could onl}- be restrained, in the 
summer of 1791, in view of an approaching treaty at 
Knoxville. Colonel Shelbv attended — the Indians were 
surly, when he frankl}^ told them, that there were a thousand 
riflemen in Kentucky, with their horses all shod, ready 
to march against them. "Too manv — too manv," said 
the Cherokees, and they patched up a temporary peace. 

lie was a member of the early Conventions held at 
Danville to secure a separation from Virginia, and of the 
Convention, in April, 1792, that formed the first Constitution 
of Kentucky. In May following, he was chosen the first 
Governor of the new wState ; and during his ft)ur years' term 
he proved a model Chief Magistrate, lending every aid in 
his power in supplying troops fi)r quelling the Indian war in 
the North-west. lie was three times chosen an elector, 
supporting Thomas JefiiM-son for President ; and when the 
second war with Great Britain burst upon the country, he 

\, 1 





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consented af^ain to serve as Governor, e.\ertin<( every inllu- 
ence in sustaining tlie Government, and bringing the con- 
flict to an honorable issue. The revival of the war spirit 
reminded North Carolina of its ancient pledge of a sword 
to Governor Slielby for his King's Mountain services, and 
it was presented to him in 1813; and he led the Kentucky 
troops, the same year, on the Canada campaign, wiiich 
closed with the victor}' of the Thames. For this patriotic 
service. Congress, in 181 7, voted him a gold medal. In 
1818, he was appointed, by President Monroe, Secretary' 
of War ; but, at his advanced age, preferring the quiet of 
private life, he declined its acceptance. In 1818, he was 
associated with General Jackson in holding a treat}' with 
the Cliickasaws, which resulted in the cession of their 
lands west of the Tennessee to the General Government — 
his last public service. He was stricken with paralysis in 
1820, disabling his right arm and limb ; but his mind con- 
tinued unimpaired until July eighteenth, 1826, when he 
died of apoplexy, sitting in his chair — with only his vener- 
able companion present, as he had often expressed his wish 
that it should be. The noble patriot of three wars thus 
quietly passed away, in the sevent3'-sixth year of his age. 

Evan Shelby, Jr., who acted as Major in his brother's 
reffiment at Kinii's Mountain, was born in Maryland about 
1754. Me was a Lieutenant on Christian's campaign of 
1776. Beside his participation in the King's Mountain 
expedition, he served as a volunteer at the Cowpens ; and, 
near the close of 178 1, with his brother Isaac in South Caro- 
lina, Left on one occasion, with three or four men, to 
guard quite a squad of horses on an island, a British part}' 
of some ninety men came and took the horses ; Shelby and 
his associates escaping. But they dogged the enemy until 
they camped in a lane, when, leaving one of their number 
behind some distance with a horn which he was directed, at 
the proper time, to blow furiously, Shelby and the others 



made a bold push on the camp, hallooing " surround ! sur- 
round thcni I" This, with the horn, incHcalin;^ a charge, 
some of the enemy iK^gan to fall back, when the horses, 
becomin<,r frightened, ran at full speed over the Red-Coats, 
materhdly aiding in the stampede. The Whigs killed sev- 
eral of the skedaddlers. Marrying his cousin, Catharine, 
daughter of Major John Shelby he settled a station about 
1790, pretty well up the West Fork of Red river, some fifty 
miles north-west of Nashville. On the ei'diteenth of 
January, 1793, when out hunting, at the mouth of Casey's 
creek of Little river, in the eastern part of the present county 
of Trigg, Kentucky, he, with two companions, was killed 
by hostile Indians — his brother, Moses escaping unhurt. 

Gilbert Christian, son of Robert Christian, was born in 
Augusta County, Va., about 1734, and participa ed in the 
border wars of 1755-63. Settling in the Ilolston country, 
he commanded a company on Christian's Cherokee cam- 
paign, tlie Chickamauga expedition, and at King's Moun- 
tain, lie served as a Major on Arthur Campbell's expedi- 
tion, figured prominently in the Franklin Republic, and 
acted as a Colonel during the Cherokee war of 1788 till 
his death, at Knoxville, in November 1793, when returning 
from the High tower campaign. 

Moses Shelb}', born about 1756, was severely wounded at 
the head of his company at King's Mountain. He served at 
the siege of Savannah in 1779, at Cowpens, and the capture 
of Augusta, in 1781 — on one of which occasions he recejVed 
six sabre wounds. After the Indian wars, he settled near 
New Madrid, Missouri, where he died September seven- 
teenth, 1828, about seventy-two years of age. 

James Elliott was an earh' settler on Ilolston. From an 
Ensign in 1777, he rose by good service to the rank of Cap- 
tain, commanding his company at King's Mountain ; and 
while serving on Colonel Arthur Campbell's Cherokee expe- 
pcdition, he was killed at Tellico, December twenty-eighth, 
1780, \)\ a concealed Indian — Colonel Campbell denominat- 
ing him " a gallant young officer." 







John Sawyers was liorn in Vir<^inia in 1745, shortly after 
his parents arrivctl from ICnifhuul. who early settled in 
Auj^usta County, Virginia. In 1761 younjf Sawyers was 
en«^a<fed on Colonel Byrd's ahortivo expedition, and in other 
frontier service atrainst the Indians. In 1768, he with others 
explored the Ilolslon Valley, early removed to that frontier, 
and served at I'oint Pleasant, on Christian's Cherokee cain- 
pai<^n, and on the Chickamauga expedition in 1779, and led 
acompan\- at King's Mountain. Settling in what is now 
Knox County, Tennessee, he was made a Major, th.'n a 
Colonel, and twice chosen a member of the Legislature. 
He died November twentieth, 1831, aged eighty-six years. 

George Maxwell born in Virginia, 175 1, early migrated 
to the Ilolston. A Lieutenant in 1777, he was much en- 
gaged in frontier service, commanding a company at King's 
Mountain. On the orgiinizalion of Sullivan C(nmty, Ten- 
nessee, in 1780, he was made one of the Justices ; in 1784, 
a Major ; the next year a Ccjlonel, and member of the 
Assembly of the short-lived Republic of Franklin ; in 1787, 
a member of the North Carolina Legislature; in 1799, '^ 
member of the Tennessee Senate from Hawkins county, 
where he died November twenty-third, 1822, in his sevent}-- 
second year. Of his associates. Captain John Pemberton, 
and Captain Webb, we have no knowledge. 

Col. John Sevier and his Officers. 
Near the close of the seventeenth century, the grand- 
father of the subject of this sketch fled from his native Paris, 
on account of religious persecution, and settled in London. 
The family name of Xavier was now Anglicized to Sevier. 
Here he married a Miss Smith, and had two sons, Val- 
entine and William, who, when scarcely grown, ran away, 
and took passage for America. This was not far from 1 740. 
Among their fellow-passengers were several young men of 
a wild and sporting character, from whom Valentine Sevier 
acquired habits of gambling and dissipation. Landing at 





hi of 
tr at 

Baltimore, lu' siibsfcjuonlly married a Miss Joanna Goade, 
and settled in tlu-n Auf^usta, now Rockini^liarn County, in 
the Valley of \'iririnia, six miles south-west of where the 
little village of New Market was subsi'ijuently located. 
Mere he opened a farm, and carried on trade with the Indians, 
and here John Sevier was born, Si'ptember twenty-third, 
1745. After the Indian war of 1755 broke out, the family 
removed for safety to I'^redericksburj^. wlu-re they remained 
nearly two years, and where young Sevier attendi-d school. 

Returning to his old home in the Valley, Valentine 
Sevier found his domicil had been burned by the Indians. 
The cabins were re-built, and trade re-connnenced. John 
Sevier was sent to Staunton to school ; and while there, he 
one day accidentally fell into a mill-race, and was saved 
from drowniuif b\- the heroic ellorts of two voun<j ladies — 
one of whom subsequently became the wife of George Mat- 
thews, one of the heroes of Point Pleasant, and subsequently 
a Colonel in the Revolution, and Governor of Georgia. He 
now engaged with his father in trade; and, in 1761, before 
he had turned of seventeen, he married Miss Sarah Haw- 
kins, cleared up a farm, and engaged in excursions against 
the Indians — on one occasion, he and his party narrowly 
escaping a fatal ambuscade by a timely discovery of the trap 
their enemies had set for them. He laid out the village of 
New Market, and there for some time he kept a store and 
inn, and carried on a farm ; and then engaged in merchan- 
dizing in the neighboring village of Middletown. 

About 1 771, he visited the Holston country, carrying some 
goods with him for trade, and repeated the visit in 1772. 
At the Watauga Old Fields, on Doe river, near its junction 
with the Watauga, he witnessed a horse-race, where a large, 
savage fellow, named Shoate, took from a traveling stran- 
ger his horse, pretending that he had won him in a bet. 
Such an act disgusted Sevier with the country, naturally 
beautiful ; but the elder Evan Shelby remarked : " Never 
mind these rascals: they'll soon take poplar" — meaning 

'.t \ 

•x: i\^ 


m I 




I! Ki 




cnnoes, and put off. This Sho.'ite became a noted horse-thief, 
and was pursued and killed about 1779-80. Late in 1773, 
John Sevier removed his family to the Ilolston countrj'. and 
lirst located iii the Ke3'\vood settlement, on the north shore of 
Holston, half a dozen mh^s from the Shelbys. Before his 
removal from Virginia, he had been commissioned a Cap- 
tain by Governor Dunmore. 

He was at Watauga Fort when attacked, July twent}'- 
first, 1776. At day-break, when there were a large num- 
ber of people gathered there, and the women were out-side 
milking the cows, a large body of Cherokees fired on the 
milkers ; but they all fortunately escaped to the fort, the 
gates of which were thrown open for their reception. 
Among the young girls thus engaged was Catharine 
Sherrill, who, when she reached the gate, found it shut ; but 
equal to the emergency, she threw her bonnet over the 
pickets, and then clambered over herself, and, as she jumped 
within, was caught in the arms of John Sevier — her future 
husband. A warm attack on the fort ensued, during which 
Captain Sevier thouglit he killed one of the Indians. A 
man stole out of the stockade at night, went to the Ilolston, 
when a large party marched lo the relief of the beleaguered 
garrison. It was because th? people refused to join and co- 
operate with the enemies of their countr}-, that the savages 
were instigated to murder them, destroy their crops and 
improvements, and drive otT their cattle and horses. 

John Sevier was among the foremost in the defence of the 
Watauga and Nolachucky settlements. lie had been 
elected Clerk of the first self-constituted court in 1775 ; and, 
in 1776, he was chosen one of the representatix^es of the 
united settlements to the North Carolina Convenuon at Hali- 
fax, and took his seat, securing the establishment of the dis- 
trict of Washington. Hastening back home, he reached 
there in season to serve on Christian's expedition against 
the Cherokees at the head of a fine company of riflemen ; 
and also, at Colonel Christian's request, he acted as a spy 








during the campaign. lie continued his services, till the con- 
clusion of the treat}' at Long Island of Ilolston in July, 
1777. In the fall of that year, he was appointed Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel lor Washington County. During the period 
1777-79, ^'^^ Indians, Tories and horse-thieves required Col- 
onel Sevier's constant vigilance. In the summer of 1780, 
he was left in defence of the settlements, while Major 
Charles Robertson led the Watauga troops on the campaign 
in South Carolina. During tlxiir absence, August four- 
teenth, having some time previously lost his wife, he was 
married to Miss Catharine Sherrill. 

Ilis gallant services at King's Mountain cannot be too 
highly extolled. December sixteenth following, he defeated 
the Cherokees at Boyd's creek, killing thirteen, and taking 
all their baggage, and then joined Colonel Arthur Campbell 
on an expedition against the hostile Indian towns. On tlie 
third of February, 1781, he was made a full Colonel ; and 
in March, he led a successful Ibray against the Middle 
Cherokee Settlements, killing about thirty of their warriors, 
capturing nine prisoners, burning six towns, and bringing 
off about two hundred horses. 

" What time from right to left there rang the Indian war-wlioop wild, 
Where Sevier's tall Watauga boys through the dim dells dcfded." 

Having, in February, been appointed by General Greene 
one of the Commissioners to hold a treaty with the Indians, 
a conference took place with the Cherokees at the Long 
Island of Ilolston in Jidy, Colonel Sevier and Major Martin 
attending, but without any permanent results. In the 
autumn of this year. Colonel Sevier served under Generals 
Greene and Marion in South Carolina; and, in 1782, he 
carried on a campaign against the Cherokees. 

In November, 1784, he was appointed Brigadier-Gen- 
eral, wl'.ich he declined because of liis leadership in the effort 
to establish the rt>public of Franklin. During the period of 
1784 to 178S, he was made its Governor and defender. He 
was apprehended by the North Carolina authorities, on a 





charge of rebellion against the State, and conveyed to Mor- 
ganton, where he was rescued by a party of his friends ; and 
returning home. "Chuckyjack" led a campaign against 
the Indians. As the East Tennesseans were divided in sen- 
timent' the Franklin Republic, after a turbulent career of 
some four years, ceased to exist. In 1789, General Sevier 
was chosen a member of the Legislature of North Carolina, 
when an act of oblivion was passed, and he was re-instated 
as Brigadier-General. In 1790-91, he was elected to repre- 
sent the East Tennessee district of North Carolina in Con- 
gress. When Tennessee was organized into a Territory, 
he was appointed by President Washington a Brigadier- 
General in the militia ; and he continued to protect the 
fronder settlements, carrying on the Ilightower campaign 
against the Cherokees in 1793. In 1798, he was made a 
General in the Provisional army. 

On the organization of a State Government in 1796, 
General Sevier was chosen the first Governor, and by sue- 
cessive re-elections was continued in that office till 1801. 
In 1802, he served as a Commissioner in running the bound- 
ary line between Tennessee and Virjfinia. He aj^ain served 
as Governor from 1803 till 1809, and then a term in the 
State Senate. lie was chosen to a seat in Congress in 
181 r, serving, during the war, on the important com- 
mittee on military affairs, till 1815 ; when President Madi- 
son appointed him one of the Commissioners, to ascertain 
the boundary of the Creek territory-, and died while on that 
service, in camp, on the east side of the Tallapoosa, near 
Fort Decatur, Alabama, September twenty-fourth, iSj^i^ 
closing a busy, useful life at the age of seventy years. As 
a proof of the love and veneration of his neighbors and 
friends, whih ibsent in the Creek country, they had again 
elected him t« Congress with?)ut opposition. In the language 
of the distinguislied Hugh L. White, who had served 
under him in the old Indian wars : " General Se\ ier was 
considered in his da}', among the most gallant, patriotic, 
and useful men in the country where he lived." * 






Jonathan Tipton was born in Frederick County, Virginia, 
in 1750. Early settling in what became Washington 
County, East Tennessee, he was, in February, 1777, made 
Major, and was engaged in guarding the frontiers ; and in 
1780, had a tight with the Indians at the mouth of Flat creek, 
on Nolachucky. He was second in command of Sevier's 
regiment at King's Mountain : and then served on Arthur 
Campbell's campaign, leading a detachment against Telas- 
see and Chilhowee. In the fall of 1781, he went on service 
with Colonels Shelby and Sevier under General Greene, in 
South Carolina. Major Tipton died in Overton County, 
Tennessee, January eighteenth, 1833, in his eighty-third 

Valentine Sevier was born in what is now Rockingham 
County, Virginia, about 1747, and settled at an early period 
in East Tennessee. He was a Sergeant, and one of the 
spies, at the battle of Point Pleasant, where, says Isaac 
Shelby, " he was distinguished <br vigilance, acdvity, and 
braver3\" He subsequently served in the Indian wars in 
East Tennessee, and commanded a company at Thicketty 
Fort, Cedar Springs, Musgrove's Mill, and King's Moun- 
tain. He was the lirst Sheriff of Washington County, a 
Jusdcc of the court, and rose in the militia to the rank of a 
Colonel. He removed to the mouth ot Red river on Cumber- 
land, now Clarksville, where he was attacked by Indians, 
November eleventh, 1794, killing and wounding several 
of his family. After long suffering from chronic rheu- 
matism, he died at Clarksville, February twenty-third. 
1800, in his fif"tv-third year; his widow surviving till 1844 
in her one hundred and lirst year. His younger brother. 
Robert Sevier, who also commanded a company at King's 
Mountain, and was mortally wounded in the conflict, was 
previouslv nuich engaged in ridding the Watauga and Xola- 
chuckv region of Tories and horse thieves. 

Christopher Taylor was born in Bedford County, Vir- 

* MS. letter to the author, April 6th, 1839. 



Iffii ^'' 





'^i sf 

! • i, 

ginia, in 1746, and earl}' removed, with a 3'oung family, 
to East Tennessee. He served on Christian's campaign ; 
he was chosen a Captain, in 1778, and ranged the frontiers, 
serving in 1780, at King's Mountain, and subsequently 
against tlie Indians. He was a member of tlie Jonesborough 
convention in 1784, and died in Washington County, Ten- 
nessee, September tenth, 1833, at the age of eighty-seven. 

Jacob Brown was born in South Carolina, December 
eleventh, 1736; settled on Nolacliucky, in 1772, purchas- 
ing lands of the Cherokees. lie served in the Indian 
wars, at the head of his company in Sevier's regiment 
at King's Mountain, and then on Arthur Campbell's 
expedition. He was made a Major, defeated a party 
of Indians in the fall of 1781, and died, June twenty-eighth, 
1785, from an accidental wound received while out hunting. 

Samuel Weir was anotlier of Sevier's Captains at King's 
Mountain. He was an active participant in the Franklin 
Republic movement; led a party, in 1793, against Telassee, 
killing sixteen Indians, and taking four prisoners. In 1793 
and 1794, lie was a member of the Territorial Legislature, 
and, in 1796, a member of the Convention that formed the 
Constitution of Tennessee. He served many years as 
clerk of Sevier County court ; and lived to a good old 
age. He was full)- six feet in height, dark complexioned, 
and possessed much energ}- of character. 

Other Captains of Sevier's regiment at King's Moun- 
tain were Samuel Williams, a member of the Jonesborough 
Convention of 1784, and a representative of Carter County, 
in the Legislature in 1799 5 J^irnc''^ Stinson, Jesse Beene, and 
Thomas Price, who were much engaged against the Chero- 
kees. George Russell, Joel Callahan, Isaac Lane, Andrew 
Caruthers, aud William Robinson, were probably all 
Lieutenants. Caruthers, a native of Ireland, died in Lin- 
coln County, Tenn., in 1818 : and Robinson, a native of 
Scodand, was among the defeated Remdators at Alamance, 
in May, T771, and lived to advanced years, dying also in 
Lincoln County. 




Col. Ben. Cleveland, Maj. Joseph Winston and their 





Cievcland's Ancestry.— His Early Life and Hunting Adventures. — 
Trip to Kentucky. — Elk Hunt and Narroiu Escapes. — Revolution- 
ary War.— Suppressing Scotch Tories.— Eutlierford' s Cherokee 
Campaign. — Marches to Watauga. — Appointed Colonel.— Ser^'cs in 
Georgia. — New River Scout. — King's Mountain. — Hangs Coyle 
and Brown. — Captured by Tories and his Rescue. — Riddle and 
Wells Hung. — Other Tory Brigands Taken — A'ichols, Tate, and 
Harrison. — Thumbing the Notch. — Reforming Tories. — Remo-'cs to 
Tugalo. — Hangs Dinkins. — Appointed Judge. — Anecdote. — Great 
Size, Death, and Character. 

Major Joseph Winston Noticed.— Ben. Herndon.—Micajah and Joel 
Lewis. — Robert and John Cleveland.— Jesse Franklin.— William 
Lenoir— John Barton— William Meredith, and Minor Smith. — 
John Brown and Samuel Johnson. — David and John Wither- 
spoon. — Jo. Herndon, Richard Allen, and Elisha Reynolds. 

A beauty of the time of Charles the First — so runs the 
stor}^ — named Elizabeth Cleveland, a daughter of an oOicer 
of the palace of Hampton Court, attracted the attention of 
her sovereign, and an amour was the result. When Oliver 
Cromwell became the rising star of the empire, the same 
charms won his sympathies, and a son was born unto them. 
The mother retired from the public gaze, and subse- 
quendy married a Mr. Bridge. When this wild colt of a 
son grew up, he took his mother's name and was the 
reputed author of a book — " T/ic Life and Adventures of 
Mr. CroDi-aell, Xatiinxl son of Oliver Cronnvell,'' pub- 
lished after his death, by consent of his son, first in 1731, a 
second edition, with a French translation in 1741, and yet 
another edition in 1 760. 


>'m! : , i 

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« )] 


I ; . .-l 

1 1 ■ 


V ! 

f I - » 

f- 1 







The perusal of this work, more than thirty years ago, 
left on the mind of the writer the strong conviction tluit it 
was a romance, and a recent re-examination of it conurms 
that opinion. Noble, in his learned production on the 
Cromivcll Family, published nearly a century since, 
declares that these pretended Adventures are "too marvel- 
ous to be true ;" and a writer in Notes and Ji^ier/es, in 
1856, states that from " the extraordinary adventures related 
in it," he "considers it a fictitious nairative." Whether 
or not this work is a romance, or records a series of facts 
more wonderful than fiction, it is nevertheless true, that 
Colonel Benjamin Cleveland had a copy of it, to which he 
used to point with no little pride, claiming his descent 
through this " Mr. Cleveland," from the illustrious Oliver 
Cromwell. Others of the Cleveland connection made the 
same claim. 

While Noble, Guizot, and other writers on Cromwell, 
agree that the renowned Protector, with all his religious 
seeming, " probably had natural children," yet it is ex- 
ceedingly doubtful if our King's Mountain hero descended 
from any such questionable origin. History informs us, 
that the Clevelands were an ancient family, deriving their 
name from a tract of country in the North Riding of York- 
shire, England, still called Cleveland. Tradition designates 
Alexander Cleveland, Sr. and Jr. ; and that John Cleve- 
land, with his father, the younger Alexander Cleveland, 
early migrated to Virginia, and married a Miss Martha 
Coffee. He settled on the since famous Bull Run, in 
Prince William County, where he engaged in the employ- 
ment of a house-joiner. His son, Benjamin Cleveland, the 
subject of this sketch, was born there May twenty-sixth, 
1738; and while yet very young, his father removed some 
sixty miles to the south-west, locating in a border setde- 
ment on Blue Run, some six or eight miles above its 
junction with the Rapidan, in Orange Coimty, near the line 
of Albemarle. Not only young Cleveland's parents, but 






his gratuinulicr Cleveland anil wife also settled on Blue 
Run; the latter couple dyin^^r there, about 1770, within 
three days of each other, when about a Imndred years 
old * ; and here his parents lived and died at a j^ood old age. 

W hen about twehe } ears old, and his parents were both 
absent, some drunken rowdies called at the house, and 
began to throw the stools into the lire. Little Ben, satisfied 
what his father would do were he at home, snatched the 
old man's rille from its hooks, and simply said, "gentle- 
men, do you see this?" They saw it, and the 3'outh's 
detei mined attitude, which led them to think discretion the 
better part of valor, when one of the party said to his 
fellows: "We'd better be otT; we don't know what this 
excited child might do." So the brave lad put the lawless 
drunkards to flight, and saved his father's property. 

Nor was it inebriates alone that young Cleveland early 
learned to vanquish. Like Nimrod of old, he became " a 
mighty hunter ; " and, like Daniel Boone, he had an uncon- 
querable aversion to the tame drudger}- of farm life, as he 
regarded it. lie spent much of his time from earl}' youth 
in the wilderness, securing pelts and furs, which found a 
ready market. The heads of the Dan, Staunton and Pig 
rivers, in the region that subsequently became Pittsylvania 
County, was a favorite resort for hunters, and here young 
Cleveland reaped his forest harvests. Fire hunting, at 
that day, was a very common mode of entrapping the deer 
in warm weather, when they repaired to particular localides 
at night in shallow streams, where Uiey could find succulent 
food, and be less exposed to tormenting insects. The 
torchlights of the hunters would so dazzle the fated deer's 

*Thi< fact is civcn nn the autlinrity nf Maj. Inhn Reild, of Henry County, Va., to the 
writer in 1849, who was born in Orange County, Va., in 1755, and personally know these 
old people. If then. Alexander Cleveland, the younger, who died about 1770, was a liun 
dred years old, he must have been boin about 1670 — only seventeen years after Cromwell 
became Protector. This would seem to spoil the story of descent from Oliver Cromwell 
through the pretended "Mr. Cromwell"; and that he must have descended from 
Alexander Cleveland, Sr., whose birth evidently was considerably anterior to the time of 
the Protectorate. 






^ '1 

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attention, that he would stand in amazement watching the 
strange light, while the wary hunter had only to blaze away 
at its glaring eyes, and bring down the stupid animal. 

There was an old Dutchman in that region who had a 
good stand for tire-hunting, and young Cleveland concluded 
he would scare him out of it. Pealing some bark frum a 
tree, he placed it in the water so as to represent a counterfeit 
deer. The next night, he hid himself near by where he could 
watch operations. In due time, the Dutch hunter made his 
appearance — tired on the supposed deer, without apparently 
bringing him down ; then repeated his shot, and still the 
deer remained unmoved. The Dutchman now becoming 
alarmed, exclaimed, " Its de duy-vil ;" and (jurckly aband- 
oned that hunting ground — Cleveland chuckling not a little 
over the success of his stratagem. 

At length young Cleveland married, in Orange County, 
Miss Mary Graves — of an excellent family, whose father 
was in quite comfortable circumstances. Tradition tells us 
that Cleveland took an active part in the French and Indian 
war; but the particulars are lost to history. He, no doubt, 
in that border conflict became initiated into military lile, 
which proved a preparatory school for his Revolutionary 
ser\'ices. But his marriage did not reform his idle and 
reckless habits. He still loved gaming, horse-racing, and 
the wild frolicking common on the frontiers. In company 
with Joseph Martin — afterwards General Martin — he put in 
a field of wheat on Pig river, about the year 1767, where he 
settled some four years betbre ; but they were too indolent 
to fence it properly. When harvest time came, there was 
something of a crop. As was the custom of the times, they 
invited their friends to join them in cutting the grain ; for 
which hilarious occasion some liquor and a fiddler were 
provided, and a good time was necessary before entering 
upon the w(n-k, which ended in a debauch, and the grain 
was never harvested. 

To break away from such habits and associations, 

1' '•■'! 




Cleveland, about 1769, removed, with liis father-in-law and 
family, to North Carolina, and settled, near the foot of the 
Blue Ridge, on the waters of Roaring Creek, a northern 
aflluent of the Yadkin, in what was then Rowan, afterwards 
Surry, and a few years later Wilkes County. Here Cleve- 
land, with the aid of Mr. Graves' servants, opened a farm, 
raised stock, and devoted much of his time to hunting. At 
some sub>;equent period, he located on the noted tract, on 
the northern bank of the Yadkin, lifteen miles below 
Wilkesboro, known as the Round vl/;f///— taking its name 
from the horse-shoe shape of the land, nearly- surrounded 
by the river. 

From Daniel Boone, who was among the earliest 
of the pioneers of the Yadkin Valley, Cleveland learned 
of the Kentucky country — that land of cane and pea-vine, 
abounding with deer and bulTalo. Its wild charms, its rich 
lands, and its teeming game, rendered it the hunter's para- 
dise. Such attractions as these Cleveland could not resist. 
In the summer of about 1772, in compan}- with Jesse 
Walton, Jesse Bond, Edward Rice, and William High- 
tower, he set out on a trip of hunting and exploration, in 
quest of the beautiful land of Kentucky. WHien they had 
safely passed Cumberland Gap, and entered ujion the 
borders of the famous hunting grounds, with cheerful hopes 
and glowing prospects, they were unexpectedly met and 
plundered by a party of Cherokees, of all their guns, horses, 
peltr}-, and every thing they possessed, even to their hats 
and shoes. A poor old shot gun was given in turn, with 
a couple of charges of powder and shot, when they were 
threateningly ordered to leave the Indian hunting-grounds. 
They had no alternative. On their way home, they hus- 
banded their ammunition as long as possible ; with one of 
the charges they killed a small deer — the other was spent 
inelTectually. The}' had the good fortune to catch a broken- 
v.'inged wild goose, and eventually had to kill their faith- 
ful litUe hunting dog, greatly to their regret ; and Cleve- 


f 1,. 


li i 



i ? i < 

III , 

: t 






land, in after years, used to say that this dog was tame, 
under the circumstances, the sweetest animal food he ever 
ate. With this scanty supply, ami a few berries, they 
manai;ed to hold out till they reached the settlements, but 
in a nearly faniishod condition. 

Several monllis afterwards, Cleveland made up a parly 
of chosen men — among whom was William Ilighlower, 
who wended their way to the Cherokee towns, determined 
to recover the horses that had been taken from them. From 
some circumstance not now known, Ilightower gave name 
to the Ilightower or Etowah river. Cleveland applied to 
a noted Cherokee chief, known among the whiti'S as Big 
Bear, who replied that the Indians who had his horses 
would be likely to kill him as soon as they should learn the 
object of his mission ; but, he added by way of compliment, 
" if you were to be killed, I should claim that honor, as 
one big warrior ought only to be slain by another." Big 
Bear sent an escort with Cleveland to the several towns to 
aid him in reclaiming his property'. He succeeded without 
much dilllculty, except in the last case. The Indian having 
the horse, showed tight, raised his tomahawk, and Cleve- 
land cocked his rifle, when his friendly escort interposed, 
and saved their red brother from a fatal shot, by throwing 
him to the ground ; but not before he had hurled his battle- 
ax'e at his antagonist, which happily did no other harm 
than cutting away a part of the bosom of Cleveland's hunting 
shirt. Then Cleveland, at the instance of his Indian guides, 
mounted his newly recovered horse, which was at hand, and 
was riding away, when a ball from the rifle of the enraged 
Cherokee, wounded the animal, but not seriously. Return- 
ing to Big Bear's village, that chief increased the guard ; and 
Cleveland and part}' retired with tlieir horses in triumph. 
On their way back to North Carolina, they went by the Tu- 
galo countr}^ winch greatly attracted Cleveland's attention. 

Reuben Stringer was a noted woodsman of the Llppcr 
Yadkin Valley, and was often Cleveland's associate in his 







huntinjT aclvcmurcs. Thry took an oik liiinl togetlier, in 
tin; montli of August, when these animals were in their 
prime The elk were larj^e, and \v\-\; wild, and gradually 
retired before the ailvancing settlements. A few years 
anterior to the Revolutionary war, they were yet to be fuund 
at the foot of the mountain ranges on the heads of New 
river. Pursuing a wounded elk, Cleveland in attempting to 
intercept him at ii roek}- point of the river, where he ex- 
pected the animal w(.uUl cross tlu' stream, found himself sur- 
rounded by a large number of rattle-snakes, coiled, hissing, 
and fearfully sounding their alarm rattles on every hand. 
From this dangiM'ous diicmma, his only deliverance seemed 
to be an instantaneous plunge into the river, which he made 
without a moment's hesitation, and thus probably escaped a 
horrid death. 

While Stringer was busy one day in preparing a fire for 
cooking some of their wild meat for a repast, Cle\eland 
spread his blanket on the ground, beneath a cluster of large 
white oaks, to rest himself, and scjon fell asleep. In a few 
moments he suddenly awakened, in a startled condition — 
wh3% he could not tell — and, casting his eyes into the tree- 
tops above, he discovered a large limb, directly overhead, 
nearly broken (MT, hanging only by a slight splinter to its 
parent stem. He said to his companion, pointing to the 
object of his alarm: "Look, Reuben, and see what an 
ugly thing we have camped under !" " It has, indeed, an 
ugh' appearance; " replied Stringer, "but since it has ap- 
parently hung a great while in that condition, it ma}' very 
likely do so a good while longer." "Ah", said Cleveland, 
" as long as it has hung there, there is a time for it to come 
down, and I will not be in the way of danger," and gathered 
up his blanket, to spread it in a safer place. As he was 
passing the fire, he heard a crack above — the splinter had 
broken, and the limb came tumbling down, plunging its 
three prongs directly into the ground where Cleveland had 
but a moment before lain. They pulled over the fallen 

y , 


\-\ t 











limb, iind found its prong's had pcnrtratcd into tho earth to 
tljo di'ptli of lourli'i'n inches. Strin<^or eon^^M-atulated his 
comrade on his Ibrtiinate awakini; and removal, "for," he 
added, " in one minute more, you would have been inevit- 
ably killed." "Ah, Reuben," said Cleveland, who was 
very much of a fatalist, " I always told you that no man 
would die till his appointed time ; and when it comes, there 
can be no possible escape." 

But Cleveland's huntiii}^ days ^vere about to end. It 
was no longer a war with the wild beasts of the forest, but 
with his fellow men. The story of Colonial taxation by the 
King and Parliament reached the Yadkin Valley, and 
Cleveland was among the fh'st to resent the threatened tyr- 
anu}- ; and soon came the tidings of Lexington and Bunker 
Hill. North Carolina was organized into companies, regi- 
ments, and brigades ; and, on the lirst of September, 1775, 
Cleveland was appointed an Ensign in the second regiment, 
under the command of Colonel Robert Howe. But he 
seems not to have accepted it, preferring to serve in the 
militia in his immediate locality, wliere he judged his 
presence and ellorts would be more uselul. 

During 1775, when Cleveland's neighbors and friends 
of the Upper Yadkin Vahey had occasion to go to Cross 
Creek to dispose of their surplus productions, and purchase 
their supplies of iron, sugar, salt, and other necessaries, 
they were compelled, before they were permitted to buy or 
sell, to take the oath of allegiance to the King. When 
Cleveland heard of these tyrannical acts, and attempts to 
forestall the politics of the people, he swore roundly that 
he would like nothing better than to dislodije those Scotch 
scoundrels at Cross Creek. Nor was an opportunity long 
wanting. In Februar}', 1776, the Highland Tories of that 
locality raised the British standard, when Captain Cleve- 
land marched down from the mountains with a party of 
volunteer riflemen ; and, tradition has it, that he reached 
the front in season to share in the fight, and in the suppres- 



sinn f)f the revolt. lie .scoiirod tlie country in the region of 
Wake Forest, capturing several outlaws, some of whom he 
hung to the trees in the woods ; one of whom was Captain 
Jackson, wlio was executi'd within half a mile of Ransom 
Sutherland's homestead, wliose houses and nuMchandi/.e, 
Jackson had caused to be laid in ashes a few days after the 
battle of Moore's Creek Bridge. " I don't recollect," said 
Colonel Sutherland, in ihcA'arih Carol inaUniversUy Mcii^a- 
zinc, for September, 1854, " after Cleveland had done with 
them, to have heard much more of those wretches durini; 
the war." In this service, or at least a part of it, Cleveland 
was under Colonel James Moore, who had :h rved with credit 
on tlie frontiers in the old French and Indian war, anil 
whose determined bravery gave him thiiso/frujncl of " Mad 
Jimmic" among the soldiery; and for ^ears thereafter, 
Moore was tlie theme of Cleveland's admiration. 

When the Cherokees were inveigled by tlie Britisli into 
hostilities. Captain Cleveland, in the summer of 1776, served 
a tour of duty in scouting on theWestern frontier of the State ; 
and, shortly after, getting intelligence that a Tory Colonel 
Roberts had embodied a number of Loyalists on the north- 
west side of the Blue Ridge, on the borders of North Caro- 
linia and Virginia, he went in quest of them ; but hearing 
of this pursuit, they disbanded and dispersed. In the au- 
tumn of that year, when General Rutherford led a strong 
force against the Cherokees, Cleveland and his company 
went on the campaign, in the Surry regiment, under Colonel 
Joseph Williams* and Major Joseph Winston. William Le- 
noir, who was Cleveland's Lieutenant, was accustomed, in 
after years, to recount the hardships and privations the troo])s 

'•'Colonel Williams was liorn in TIanover County, Virginia. M:irrh twenty-seventh, 
1748 ; niiKrated in 17^^ to Granville County, North Carolina, where he married Rchecca, 
daiiKhtcr of Thomas I^anier. and shortly after settled near the Shallow Ford of Vadkin, in 
what afterwards became Surry County. When that County was organized, he was made 
Colonel, and led his regiment on Rutherford's Cherokee campaign in 1776. He shared in 
defeating the Tory leaders, Colonel Gideon and Captain Hezlkiah Wright, at the head of 
three hundred and ten Loyalists, at the Shallow Ford, October, fifteenth, 1780 Colonel 
Williams died August eleventh, 1827. 




had to sufl'er on th;it service — often destitute of provisions, 
without tents, with but few bhinkets, dressed in clothnig 
made of rude materials, derived from liemp, tow, and the 
wild nettle. Tliough often harrassed on their march by 
parties in ambus) i, there was no general engagement — 
Captain Cleveland sharing in the skirmishes and bush- 
whackings of the campaign. The villages and setUements of 
the hostile Cherokees were laid waste, their crops and pro- 
visions destroyed, and they were compelled to sue for 

Such was the hig'i c-iumate placed on Captain Cleve- 
land's fitness for frontier service, that early in the spring of 
1777, he was selected to lead his company to the Watauga 
settlements, to serve a tour for tlieir protection against the 
yet troublesome Cherokees. After passing the rugged in- 
tervening mountain country, and reaching the Watauga 
Valley, Cleveland and his men made their head-quarters at 
Carter's Fort, while the Virginia troops were stationed at 
the Long Island of Ilolston. Thougn scouting was kept up, 
every pains were taken to bring the Indians to terms. Cleve- 
land's company concentrated, with the odier forces, a'; the 
Long Island, where the celebrated treaty, in July of that 
3'ear, was held, and at which Major Winston was one of 
the Commissioners. When peace was made, the Wilkes 
troops returned to their distant home. 

In the autumn of 1777, Captain Cleveland attended the 
Legislature — not as a member, but to use his influence for 
the divisuin of Surry, and the formation of a new County, 
for the better convenience of the Upper Yadkin settlements. 
Wilkes County, thus formed, was named in honor of John 
Wilkes, noted for his steady opjiosition in Parliament to the 
American war. In March, 1778, when the new County was 
organized, Cleveland was placed at the head of the commis- 
sion of Justices, and was made Colonel of the militia. Ilencc- 
lorth we nnd Colonel Cleveland in -igular attendance as 
one of the Justices of the County Court, and generally the 














principal bondsman for the SheritTand other Count}' onicors. 
lie was also often called on to fill other positions — Com- 
missioner for seizing confiscated estates, Superintendent of 
elections, and County Ranger or Stray Master. In 1778, 
he was chosen to represent \Vilk(!s County in the House of 
Commons, and was regarded as one of the popular leaders 
of the mountain region of the State. 

On one occasion, soon after the regiment was orgaijized, 
it was ordered on service to the frontier;; to quell some 
Tory disturbance. After no little indiscriminate plunder- 
in.<r of both Whitrs and Tories, they returned home before 
the expiration of their term of service, with tlieir ill-got- 
ten gains, before Colonel Cleveland was able to join theni. 
lie was highly displeased with their conduct, swearing, 
roundly that he would shoot the ring-leaders ; but lie iinally 
a<irecd to foruive them on t\vo conditions — the rcftoration of 
their dishonorable plunderings, and to tlu' end of the war. 
tMrning out on a minute's warning. All who had .shareil in 
the disgraceful pillage, returned ih^ spoils of every kind, 
and were ever after prompt to engagv^ in any service at the 
shortest notice. 

When the British invaded Georgui, in 1778, General 
Rutherford led a force from the b;xk part of North Caro- 
lina, of which at least a portion of Colonel Cleveland's regi- 
ment formed a part. They repaired to Georgia, and shared 
in the winter campaign of 177S-79, which culminated in the 
disastrous defeat of General Ashe, at Brier Creek, before 
Lincoln and Rutherford could come to his aid. Returning 
from this service. Colonel Cleveland was chosen to repre- 
sent his Countv in the Slate Senate. In the summer of t 780, 
he was constantly employed in suppressing the Tories — lirst 
in marching against those assembled at Ramsour's mill, 
reaching there shortly after their defeat ; then in chasing 
Colonel Bryan's band from the State ; and finally in scour- 
ing the region of New river in checking the Tory rising in 
that quarter, capturing and hanging some of their notorious- 
leaders and outlaws. 

t \, 

^ w^ 

nr. . :■ 





Then ffilliAvcd his King's Moiintiiin campaign — the 
great service of his life — the wounding, whih; on the way, 
of his brother, Lieutenant Larkin CIcvtlaiuKhv a "^Fory party 
unci 'r Captain John Murray, near T^mclady's Slioals ; and 
then hurrying forward to grapple with the indomitable I'^'er- 
guson. The poet Ilayne notices Cleveland in tliis battle as 
though lie were a very round head of Cromwel f(:rv(;rand 
time : 

"Now, l)y God's grncc," ( r ii'l Clovclnn'l my nfihlc Colotutl he, 
Resliiifj to pick a Tory f)lf, fjiiite (ooly oi his kn ■-,- 
" Now, liy (jod's f^raci--, w<; iiavi; thiiii ! the snare is suldly si:t ; 
Tlie fjaiiic is bayj^ed : we hold them hafe as |)lieasaiits in a net." 

His heroic loearintr in the contest, and his (,'xcitin<{ nn- 
counter with the half-cra/ed Rcnven, eacli sf) fortunately es- 
caping fatal results, liave been already related. Hesides 
having assigned to hin.. by general consent, (jne of T'er- 
guson's war horses, lived to an uncommon gre-at age-, 
111- carri(;d home with him a snare-drinn, to which he pointed 
with pride as a King's Mountain trophy, as long as he lived. 
There can be noqueslion but Colonel Cleveland was con- 
spicuous in bringing about liie execution of the Tory lead- 
ers at liickerstalFs. His whole career during the war goes 
to show thatlu- was severe in his treatment of tlu; Tories — 
perhaps not unjusUy so, considering the times and circum- 
stances of an (.'xposed fre>ntier, when the execution of civil 
law was so infrequent and imc(;rtain. His brief comiTiand 
(A-er tlu; Tory pris(jnt;rs at Bethabara has been elsewhere 
noticed. Sometime in November ensuing, James Coyle or 
Cowl(;s, and John IJrown — or Jones, as Wheeler has it — 
two notorious 'Vu\-\ |)limderers, passing through Lincoln 
Count}', robbed the house (jf Major Cjc^orgeVV^ilfongof every- 
thing they could carry away, and then made ofl' with a 
couple of his horses. Major Wilfong with a party followed 
the culprits, ovt.'rtaking them near Wilkesboro, recoverinl 
the horsc.'s, but the ruflians mad(! good their escajie. They 
had appropriated Wilfong's clothes-lin'- for halters, which 
the Maj(jr kit behind, with which to hang the rascals slundd 







they ever he taken. Shortly after, ;•-; tlu:y were returning 
towards Ninety .Six, they wen; apprehended hy some 
of Ch'veland's scouts, and l)rf)ii}^dit to Wilkesbonj, where 
Colonel Cleveland ord(!n;d them hun;^ with Wilfon^r's ropes. 
All adinill(;(l that thoiigli tlu; execution wassununary, it was 
nevertheless just. 

l*>arly in 1781, when General Greene was manoMncrin;^ 
on th<' upj)rr boi-der of Xortii Carolina, Colonel Cleveland 
raised abf)ut a hundred riflitmen, went to his assistance, 
serving awhih; in tlu: advance partii's of light infantr}', but 
returned home from their toin* of duty a little beftjre the 
conflict at Cjiiilford. 

'I'o Colonel Cleveland, wliose career was replete with 
perilous ad\entures, an m eiuTi iu:e now transpire; ',, which 
at one time threatened tlie n;ost tragic termination ; and 
which, ff)r its hair-breadth escap(;s, may be regarded as the 
most nota'ule evi-nt of his life. Some thirty-fi\'e miles 
t'rom his home at the Kound-About on tiie Yadkin, and 
some; twent}- norlh-west ol" Wilkesborr), and in the south- 
eastern portion r)f the present County of Ashe, was a well- 
known locality, mostly' on the northern bank of the' South 
Fork of New river, called lln' ()/<i Fields — which at some 
previous ]ieriod, was probably the cjiiiet home (jf a wander- 
inix baml of Cherokees. These Old I'^ields belou'red to 
Colonel '"'leveland, and served, in peace-ful times, as a graz- 
ing region foi" his stock. 

Having occasion In visit his New River plantation. 
Colonel Cleveland rode there, ai inpanii'd only by a negro 
servant, arri\ing at Jesse Duncan's, his tenant, at the lower 
end of the f)ld l-'ields, on Saturday, the Ann'teenth of April, 
\']H\. LJnIbrtunately for the Colotiel, Captain William 
Riddle, a nf)ted Tory leadei'. son ol' the I.,oyalist Colonel 
James Riddle, of Surrv County, was approaching from the 
Virginia border with Captain Ross, a Whig captive, whom 
he had taken, together with his servant, and now en ronlc 
for Ninety Six, where a British reward appears to have 





hvx'w paid for prisoners. Rickllc, with his party ot' six or 
eight men, reaching Benjamin Cutbirth's, some four miles 
above the Old Fields, a fine old Whig, and an old associate 
of Daniel Boone, who liad only partially recovered from a 
severe spell of fever. The Tory Captain, probabh^ from 
Gutbirth's reticence regarding solicited information, shame- 
fully abused him, and placed him under guard. 

Descending the river to the upper end of the Old Fields, 
where Joseph and Timothv Perkins resided — about a mile 
above Duncan's — both of whom were absent in Tory 
service, Riddle learned from their women, that Cleveland 
was but a short distance away, at Duncan's, with only his 
servant, Duncan, and one or two of the Callaway family 
tliere. Every Tory in the country knew full well of Cleve- 
land's inveterate hatred of their race ; how prominently he 
had ligured at King's Mountain, and had given his influ- 
ence for the Tory exectitions at Bickerstaff's, and caused 
the summary hanging of (!^oyle and Brown at Wilkesboro. 
Riddle well judged that such a prisoner would be a prize to 
take along to Ninety Six, or it would prove no small honcjr 
to any Loyalist to rid the Rebel cause of so untiring and dis- 
tinguishcd a leailer in the Southern country. 

The prospect of making Cleveland his prisoner was too 
tempting for Riddle to neglect. 11 is force was too smal! to 
run an}' great risk, and so he concluded to resort to strata- 
gem, lie resolved, therefore, to steal Cleveland's horses in 
the quiet of the night, judging that the Colonel would fol- 
low tlieir trail the next morning, supposing they had strayed 
otr, when he would ambuscade him at some suitable place, 
and thus take " Old Ro.nd- About " as he was called, una- 
wares, a. id at a disadvantage. The horses were accord- 
ingly taken that night ; and a laurel thicket selected, just 
above tlie Perkins' house, as a fitting place to waylay their 
expected pursuers. During Saturday, Richard Callaway 
and his brother-in-law. John .Sliirlev, went down from the 
neiiihborinf; residence of Thomas Callaway to Duncan's, to 




see Colonel Cleveland, and appear to have remained there 
over night. 

Discovering that the horses were missing on Sunday 
morning, immediate pursuit was made. Having a pair of 
pistols, Colonel Cleveland retained one of them, handing 
tlie other to Duncan, while Callaway and Shirley were un- 
armed. Reaching the Perkins' place, one of the Perkins 
women knowing of the ambuscade, secretly desired to 
save the Colonel from his impending fate, so she detained 
him, as long as she could, by conversation, evidently fear- 
ing personal consequences should she divulge the scheme 
of his enemies to entrap him. His three associates kept on, 
with Cleveland some little distance behind, Mrs. Perkins 
still following, and retarding him by her inquiries ; and as 
those in advance crossed the fence which adjoined the 
thicket, the Tories fired from their places of concealment, one 
aiming at Cleveland, who though some little distance in the 
rear, was yet within range of their guns, V t they gener- 
ally sliot wild — only one shot, that of Zachanah Wells, who 
aimed at Callaway, proving effectual, breaking his thigh, 
when he fell helpless by the fence, and was left, for dead.* 
Duncan and Shirley escaped. Cleveland from his great 
weight — fully three hundred poimds — knew he could not run 
any great distance, and would only be too prominent a mark 
for Tory bullets, dodged into the house with several Tories 
at his heels. Now, flourishing his pistol ''ipidly from one 
to another, they pledged to spare his life and accord him 
good treatment, if he would quietly surrender, which he did. 

Wells by this time having re-loaded his rifle, made his 
appearance on the scene, swearing that he would kill Cleve- 
land ; and aiming his gun, the Colonel instantly seized Abi- 

*Richard Callaway had been Rrievioiisly wounded on the *■, nrms. shoulder, and 
hand hy Tarleton's cavalry, at Sumter's surprise, Aug. eiRhtecnth, 1780, and left for dead ; 
yet recovered, though, he had a crippled hand for life. In due time his broken limb, so 
badly disabled by Wells' unerrini; shot, healed up, and he lived many years. He aided in 
running the boundary line from the White Top Mountains to the Mississippi, and died in 
Tennessee in 1822. 



i ■ 


I ' 



fjftiil Walters wlio was present, and b)' dint of his great 
strengtli, and under a high state of excitement, dextrou.sly 
luindled her as a puppet, ls.eeping" her between him and liis 
would-be assassin. Wells seemed vexed at this turn in the 
allair, and hurled his imprecations on the poor woman, 
threatening if she did not get out of the way, that he would 
blow her through as well, not appearing to realize Uiat she 
had as little power as a mouse in the clutches of a ferocious 
cat. Cleveland getting his eyes on Captain Riddle, whom 
he knew, or judged by his appearance, to be the leader, 
appealed to him if such treatment was not contrary to the 
stipulations of his surrender. Riddle promptly replied that 
it was, and ordered Wells to desist from his murderous in- 
tent, saying that they would take Cleveland to Ninety Six, 
and make money out of his capture. The terrified woman 
who had been made an unwilling battery, was now released 
from Cleveland's grasp as from a vise ; and the whole party 
with their prisoner and his servant were speedily mounted, 
and hurried up New river. This stream, so near its source, 
was quite shallow, and the Tories traveled mostly in its 
bed to avoid being tracked, in case of pursuit. 

Soon al'ter the Tory party had called at Cutbirth's, on 
their way d jwn the river, young Daniel Cutbirth and a 
youth named Walters, who were absent at the time, 
returned ; and encouraged by Mrs. Cutbirth, though only 
fourteen or lilteen years of age, they resolved that 
tlie}- would take their guns, select a good spot, and 
ambuscade Riddle on his return, and. perhaps rescue what- 
ever prisoners he might have. But on the return of the 
Tory party the next day, they made so much noise, and 
gave so many military commands, that led the youthful 
ambuscaders to conclude that uiey had received a re-in- 
forcement, and that it would be rashness for two single- 
handed youths to undertake to cope with numbers so 
unequal. So Riddle and his party reached Cutbirth's 
undisturbed, and ordered dinner lor lu'mself, men, and 





prisoners. One of the Cutbirth girls, not engaging wil- 
lingly in this service, received abuse, and even kicks, from 
the Tory leader. Their hunger ajipeased, they proceeded 
up New river, mostly along its bed, till they reached Elk 
Creek, up which they made their way in the same manner. 
Colonel Cleveland, meanwhile, managed unperceived, to 
break off overhanging twigs, dropping tliem into the stream 
to float down as a guide to his friends, who he knew would 
make an early pursuit. From the head of the south fork 
of Elk, they ascended up the mountains to what has since 
been known as Riddle's Knob, in what is now Watauffa 
County, and some fourteen miles from the place of Cleve- 
land's captivity, where they camped for the night. 

Early on that Sabbath morning, Joseph Callaway and 
his brother-in-law. Berry Tone}-, wishing to see Colonel 
Cleveland on business matters, called at Duncan's, and 
learned about the missing horses, and the pursuit ; and at 
that moment they heard the report of the firing at the 
upper end of the plantation, and hastened in that direction, 
soon meeting Duncan and Shirley in rapid flight, who 
coidd only tell that Richard Callaway had fallen, and 
Colonel Cleveland was either killed or taken. It was 
promptly agreed, that Duncan, Shirley, and Toney sliould 
notify the people of the scattered settlements to meet that 
afternoon at the Old Fields, while Joseph Callaway should 
go to his father's, close by, mount his horse and hasten to 
Captain Robert Cleveland's, on Lewis' Fork of the Yadkin, 
a dozen miles distant.* His brother, William Callaway, 
started forthwith up the river, and soon came across 
Samuel McQi_ieen and Benjamin Greer, who readily joined 
him ; and all being good woodsmen, followed the Tory 
trail at best they could, till night overtook them when some 
distance above the mouth of Elk Creek, and aboat ten miles 
from the Old Fields. William Callaway suggested, that he 

* Joseph Callaway was a member from Ashe County, in tho House of Commons, in 
1804 and 1806. 






and McQiiecn would romuin tlicre, while Greer should 
return to jiilot up \vhatevt;r men may have gathered to 
engage in pursuit of tlie Tories. 

By night-fall, Captain Robert Cleveland and others, to 
the number of twenty or thirty, good and tried men, who 
had served under Colonel Cleveland, had gathered at the 
Old Fields, determined to rescue their old commander at 
every hazard, even though they should follow the Tory 
party to the gates of Ninety Six. Greer made his appear- 
ance in good time, and at once they were on the trail of the 
enemy.* The}^ reached William Callaway and McQiieen 
awhile before day ; and as soon as light began to appear, 
John Baker joined Callaway and McQtieen, to lead the 
advance as spies. A little after sun-rise, having proceeded 
four miles, the}' discoveied indications of the enemy's camp 
on the mountain. But little arrangement was made for the 
attack ; nine men only were in readiness — the others were 
apparently some distance behind ; and only four or five of 
these were designated to fire on the enemy, tlie rest reserv- 
inij their shots for a second vollev, or anv emergencies that 
might happ'Mi — of these was William Callaway. 

Some of the Tories had already breakfasted, while 
others were busily employed in preparing their morning 
meal. Colonel Cleveland was sitting on a large fallen tree, 
engaged, under compulsion, in writing passes for the 
several members of Captain Riddle's part}', certifying that 
each was a good Whig — to be used, when in a tight place, 
to help them out of difiiculty, by assuming that they were 
patriots of the truest type, Cleveland's commendation 
passing unquestioned along the borders of Virginia and 
the Carolinas. But "Old Round About" had a strouff 

* Greer was one of Cleveland's heroes. One of his fcllo'.v :■ iuiers stole his tobacco 
from him, when he threatened he a'oiiUI whip him lor it as soon as he should put his eyes 
on him. Cleveland expostulated with Greer, tolling him his men ought to fight the enemy, 
and not each other. " I'll jiive him a hint o{ it, any way," said Greer, and when he met 
the tobacco pilferer, he knocked him down. Greer's hint was lonji a bv-word in all that 
region. — Col, W. W. Lenoir. 






suspicion that their urgency (or tliese passports betokened 
that the moment they were completed, his days would be 
numbered; and thus naturally but a poor penman, he 
purposely retarded his task as mucli as possil)le, hoping to 
gain time for the expected relief", apologizing lor his 
blunders, and renewing his unwilling etlbrts. Several of 
the Tory party \vere now gathering up their horses for an 
carl}' start, and Cleveland was receiving severe threaten- 
ings it' he did not hurry up his last passport. 

Just at this moment, w hile Captain Riddle and Zacha- 
riah Wells were especially guarding Cleveland and Captain 
Ross- -the former with Cleveland's pistol presented at his 
breast, and the latter with his gun aimed for instantaneous 
use, if need be — the relief party were silently creeping up ; 
and the next moment several guns were fired, and the Whigs 
rushed up, uttering their loudest yells. Colonel Cleveland, 
comprehending the situation, tumbled oil" the prostrate tree, 
on the side opposite to his friends, lest their balls might 
accidently hit him, and exclaiming, in his joy, at the top of 
his dumdering voice, '•^ Huzza for brother Bob! — that's 
right, give 'on h — /.' " Wells alone was shot, as he w as 
scampering away, b}- William Callaway in hot pursuit, and 
supposed to be mortally wounded, he was left to his fate ; 
me rest fled with the aid of their fresh horses, or such as 
they could secure at the moment — Riddle and his wife 
among the number. Cleveland's servant, a pack-horse lor 
Torv plunder, was overjoyed at his sudden liberation. 
Cleveland and Ross were thus fcM'tunately rescued ; and 
having gained their purpose, the happy Whigs returned to 
their several homes. William Callaway was especially 
elated that he had had the good fortune to shoot Wells, who 
had so badly wounded his brother, Richard Callaway, at 
die ambuscade at the Old Fields. 

ShorUv after this occurrence, Captain Riddle ventured to 
make a night raid into the Yadkin Valley, where on King's 
Creek, several miles above Wilkesboro, the}' surrounded 

i m 




the house where two of CleveUuurs noted soldiers, David 
and John Witherspoon, resided with their parents, and 
spirited tlieni many miles away in the mountain re;^n()n on 
Watauj^^a river, in what is now Watau/^a County, weri' hoth 
were senleneed to be shot — blindfolded, ami men detailed to 
do the fatal work. It was then proposed, if they would 
take the oath of alle^ianee to the Kiny, repair to their home, 
and speedily return with a certain noble animal belong- 
ing to David Witherspoon, known as "the O'Neal mare," 
and join the Tor}' band, their lives would be spared. 
They gladly accepted the proposition — with such mental 
reservations as they thought fit to make. As soon as they 
reached home, David Witherspoon mounted his fleet-footed 
mare, and hastened to Colonel Ben. Ilerndon's, several 
miles down the river, wdio (piickly raised a party, and 
piloted by the Witherspoons, they soon reached the Tory 
camp, taking it by surprise, capturing three, and killing and 
dispersing others. So the young Witherspoons fullilled 
their promise of returning speedily to the Tory camp, 
bringing the O'Neal mare with them ; but under somewhat 
ditlerent circumstances from what the unsophisticated Tories 

The tliree prisoners taken were Captain Riddle, and 
two of his noted associates, named l^eeves and Goss. On 
their arrival at Wilkesboro, a court mardal condemned 
them to be hung ; but as if to curry favor with the soldiers, 
or get them in a condition so he might escape, Riddle 
treated them freely to whisky. Learning which, Colonel 
Cleveland frankly informed him, that it would be useless to 
waste his whisky in such eilbrts — Unit he would be hung 
directly after breakfast. The three notorious freebooters 
were accordingly executed, on the hill adjoining the 
village, on a stately oak, which is yet standing, and pointed 
out to strangers at Wilkesboro. ?.Irs. Riddle, who seems 
to have accompanied her husband on his wild and reckless 
marauds, was present, and witnessed his execution. 



Colonel Cleveland was active at this period in sending 
out strong scouting parties to scoin" the mountain regions, 
and if possible, utterly break up the 'H^ry bands still 
infesting the frontiers. His Wilkes riHemcn had, by this 
time, acquired a reputalion of which Ihey were justly 
proud. Tiiey were general!}' known as Ch'-'cland's Heroes^ 
sometimes as Cleveland's IhiU Doa^s ; while the Tories 
dimominated them Cleveland" s Devils. Cleveland himsi'lf 
rated each of his well-tried followers as the equal of five 
ordinary soldiers. It was not long before one of these 
detachments had the good fortune to take Zachariah Wells 
who had not yet recovered from the dangerous wound he 
had received at Riddles' Knob. lie was conveyed to 
Hughes' Bottom, about a mile below Colonel Cleveland's 
Round-About residence, near the mouth of a small stream 
known as Hughes' Creek. Here young James Gwyn, a 
youth of thirteen, witli a colored boy with him, was at work 
in the cornfield, when Colonel Cleveland, who had join;_'d 
those having the prisoner in charge, of whom Lieutenant 
Elisha Reynolds, Cleveland's two sons and his brother, 
formed a part, took the plow lines from the horse, with 
which to hang Wells to a tree on the river bank. 

Young Gwyn, who knew little of the stern realities of 
war, was shocked at the thought of so summary an execu- 
tion. Intimately acquainted with Colonel Cleveland, he 
begged the Colonel not to hang the poor fellows who 'ooked 
so pitiful, and was sufl'ering from his former wound, greatly 
exciting his sympathies. "Jimmic, my son," said Cleve- 
land tenderly, "he is a bad man; we must hang all such 
dangerous Tories, and get them out of their miser}'- ;" while 
Captain Bob. Cleveland, who was present, was cursing the 
wincing Tory at a vigorous rate. With tears coursing 
down his cheeks, i! e Cnloncl adjusted the rope, regretting 
the necessity for hanging the trembling culprit — remember- 
ing vividly the rough treatment he had so recently received at 
the hands of Wells at the Perkins' place, at the Old Fields ; and 





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1.0 [fi^ 




1.25 ill 

U i 1.6 

























firmly convinced that the lives of the; patriots of the Yadkin 
Valley would be safer, and their slumbers all the more peace- 
ful, when then- sutVering countr}- was rid of all such vile des- 
peradoes. Such was Cleveland's philosopli}', and such liis 
patriotism. Wells soon dangled from a conxenient tree, and 
his remains were